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Key populations, specifically people who sell sex (PWSS), people who inject drugs (PWID) and lesbian, and gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people experience significant human rights violations which underpin the continued high HIV incidence in these populations. This rapid assessment of human rights violations in Eastern and southern Africa focuses on three priority key populations – PWSS, LGBTI (including MSM), and PWID. The report outlines the normative international treaties that establish a basis for a human rights framework for the HIV response.
The importance of designing and implementing successful targeted interventions for sex workers as part of HIV prevention and control cannot be over-emphasised. In almost every country, sex workers comprise a focal point of the epidemic. They are the victims of discrimination, often violently intense, trafficking, legal persecution and societal ambivalence as well as one of the first occupational groups to become heavily infected. The infection passes from sex workers back to their clients and into the general population of women, men and children. One of the clearest public health lessons emerging from the HIV pandemic is that protecting the human rights of sex workers is an important means of prevention.