Key populations invisible in the universal health coverage agenda!

Key populations invisible in the universal health coverage agenda!
Last updated on: 04 March 2024

As we speak, UN Member States are negotiating drafts of the new Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Political Declaration to be adopted in September at the High-Level Meeting. In this blog post, our Head of Policy U.S., Marielle Hart, takes a closer look at the latest draft and what should be changed. In this blog post, she highlights the urgent need to include key populations. Read on!

Key populations invisible in the universal health coverage agenda!

Key populations, including LGBTIQ+ people, people who use drugs, and people who sell sex are among the most marginalised, stigmatised, and criminalised people in the world. The recent developments in Uganda around the introduction of the anti-homosexuality Act 2023 are a bleak demonstration of this. LGBTIQ+ people in the country have been staying away from health clinics and healthcare providers have expressed their fears that offering medical services to these people could be classed as “promoting homosexuality”, which is punishable by a lengthy prison sentence under the new law.

In many other countries across the world, stigma, discrimination and criminalisation prevent people disproportionally impacted by HIV from accessing the health services they need, due to fears of being refused, judged, mistreated or even arrested. As long as they remain excluded from the health system as a result of their status in society, a country will never end AIDS and never achieve universal health coverage.

This makes it completely unacceptable that these groups remain invisible in the different drafts of the new UHC Political Declaration which is currently being negotiated by UN Member States and which will be adopted in September. Aidsfonds and civil society partners have urged Member States to include LGBTIQ+ people, people who use drugs and people who sell sex among the groups listed as the furthest behind in terms of achieving UHC. At the very least, we would like to see them acknowledged by making sure the Political Declaration includes people living with and most affected by HIV. The latest draft only refers to people living with HIV.

Making people invisible is a violation of human rights. And UHC will remain a distant dream.

The Love Alliance

The Love Alliance is based on the premise that to end AIDS, the groups most affected by the epidemic need to be at the centre of the response. We build on existing evidence on the effectiveness of rights-based responses that focus on and meaningfully engage LGBTIQ+ people, sex workers, people who use drugs, with specific attention for people living with HIV, women and young people within these communities.

Read more!