The Impact of the Criminalization of Hiv Transmission and Exposure on Gender Equality and Poverty.

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Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s remarks to the UN General Assembly HIV/AIDS Review (2009) discussed the number of member states still without laws in place to prohibit HIV/AIDS related discrimination. He also provided comment on the number of countries where such laws do exist, but fail to adequately enforce the legislation; raising the point that these legal frameworks also institutionalize discrimination against groups most at risk and against vulnerable populations, especially women. Mr. Ban Ki Moon’s speech voiced concerns that in practice, criminalization has actually achieved the opposite, reducing the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention efforts by reinforcing the stigma. Such measures send the message that people living with HIV/AIDS are a danger to society. These concerns have seen organisations around the world rise against the criminalization of HIV and defend the human rights of those with the disease. One such organisation is the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and their campaign “Criminalise Hate Not HIV”. This campaign provides a documentary called “Criminalization of HIV: Verdict on a Virus” (2010), which is a visual representation designed to provide background on the criminalization of HIV transmission or exposure, and the health, human rights and legal implications. As we already know HIV and poverty are inextricably linked. Factors associated with poverty increase HIV/AIDS risk, including lack of access to health care services, unemployment and inability to pay for medication or care, homelessness, increased drug use, and the need to engage in potentially unprotected sexual acts for money or other necessities. Women are particularly vulnerable as they may experience financial or other pressures that keep them tied to an abusive partner and are unable to implement safe practices in their sexual relationships. For those women

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