We’re on the frontline of AIDS in Lebanon, strengthening the capacity of the regional network of women living with HIV to promote the rights of trans women and sex workers.
Although some data on the HIV epidemic in Lebanon exists, it does not include up-to-date statistics for marginalised groups of people. Without this data, the needs of people most at risk of HIV are largely unknown, making HIV programming tricky to implement.
HIV services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Lebanon are challenging to provide for a couple of reasons. Firstly, same-sex sexual activities are criminalised, which means promoting services for this group is risky. Secondly, there has been a refusal to register new associations that work on LGBT rights.
In 2018, a district court of appeal issued a ruling determining that consensual sex between people of the same sex is not unlawful. This moves Lebanon towards decriminalising homosexual conduct.
Sex work in Lebanon is regulated, but can only be practiced inside licensed brothels. And possession of drug for personal use is punishable by the same extent as trafficking. These punitive legal environments are all too often held up as barriers to HIV services, and Lebanon is no exception.
Alongside legal barriers, the Syrian conflict is placing inordinate strain on health resources and also increasing the number of marginalised people engaging in sex work and drug use.
Frontline AIDS is not afraid to work in challenging areas, and thanks to our partners, we are able to reach people who typically find it difficult to access HIV services.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The number of people living with HIV in Lebanon is relatively small at 2,500.
- 60% of people living with HIV are on antiretroviral treatment.
- The number of new HIV infections reported annually keeps increasing.
- Until 2017, Lebanese law allowed that a man who raped a woman was exempt from punishment if he married his victim. Similar legislation has recently been amended in Tunisia and Jordan, but this continues to be the case in Algeria.
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