Key populations (KP) bear disproportionate burdens of HIV infection. Globally, new infections among KPs and their sexual partners account for 36% of all new HIV infections.1 Achieving the UNAIDS “fast track” treatment targets will require a renewed and focused approach to identify most at-risk and vulnerable populations and respond to their specific needs.
Evidence suggests that KPs—notably men who have sex with men (MSM), people who inject drugs, sex workers, and transgender persons—are underserved and face violence, criminalization, ineffective policies that don’t protect their rights, and stigma and discrimination, including in health care settings. This reality prevents KPs from accessing needed HIV prevention and care services, leading to low service coverage, an important driver of ongoing HIV transmission in many resource limited settings. Young women and girls are also increasingly at risk of acquiring HIV. Acquisition of HIV is often associated with the incidence of unintended pregnancies, transactional sex, and gender-based violence.
1UNAIDS, Gap Report, 2016.