Hivos International

No more broken promises: Challenges and opportunities for key populations in demanding more transparency, accountability, and participation in the global response against the HIV and AIDS epidemic

The global fight against HIV/AIDS continues to pose challenges: infection rates are on the rise in many settings, stigma and discrimination remain rampant, and the global response is under increasing financial pressure. There is a high risk of losing what has been achieved so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS, but also the momentum to meet the so-called Fast Track targets for 2030. In light of these trends, it is fundamental to focus on the human rights of key populations (KPs)—especially to health, non-discrimination, access to information, and to equal and meaningful participation in political and public affairs—by placing them at the center of the global HIV response. Such rights, and the demand for more transparency, accountability, and participation (TAP), have been recognized as both a necessary social justice imperative, and as a way to build more responsive, inclusive, and sustainable health systems. This article will argue that embracing TAP as key guiding principles of the global HIV response (especially in low- and middle-income countries) could have the potential to create the conditions for KPs to have their human rights fulfilled, and to expand their participation in the decision-making processes that guide the efforts against the epidemic. It will then propose a number of avenues for further engagement between different communities of practice in terms of research, agendas, and policy and practices that could be beneficial in maximizing the impact of the global efforts to end HIV/AIDS.

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