Worlds AIDS Day 2011

Statement from Jessica Stern

Director of ProgramInternational Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

If there is one thing we know after thirty years of the pandemic it is that AIDS is an equal opportunity disease. At the same time, it is a stalker that seeks out the most at-risk individuals and populations to attack.

Laws that criminalize homosexual conduct, schools that deny students comprehensive sexual education, healthcare ministries that enforce mandatory testing while refusing access to comprehensive medical care to all, and police that target sex workers and health outreach workers all increase peoples' vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

Today at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, we join colleagues, friends, and allies around the world not only to remember lives lost to AIDS but to put out a clarion call for solutions to the disease, which include the decriminalization of homosexual conduct, an end to mandatory testing, and extending access to comprehensive sexual education and health care. Putting an end to this devastating disease and these egregious practices is within our reach.