Understanding key populations, and the global burden of HIV among them, helps EQUIP to better strategise on the most effective programme response to address the HIV epidemic in EQUIP supported countries.

Key populations include

  • people who inject drugs
  • men who have sex with men
  • transgender persons
  • sex workers
  • prisoners.

Around the world, key populations face much higher rates of HIV and AIDS than the general population and are most at risk for contracting HIV. UNAIDS estimates that between 40% to 50% of all new HIV infections may occur between individuals in key populations and their immediate partner. Under-reporting is common within key populations due to fears of stigma, backlash and discrimination.

Ministries of Health and local implementation partners know that key populations are often extremely difficult to reach for critical testing, care and treatment services. Globally, rates of key populations accessing safe, effective and quality HIV and AIDS services are extremely low, while stigma and discrimination, including gender-based violence, are high. Significant barriers, such as police harassment, societal discrimination and insufficient community-based capacity, prevent key populations from accessing the services they need.

EQUIP works to improve the implementation and scale-up of comprehensive HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment services specifically for key populations. 

EQUIP consortium partner, Anova Health Institute, focuses on men who have sex with men (MSM), a key population.