1-Sensitization/ Training of PLHIVs, community advocates, service providers and/or CBOs
No data available.
2-Incorporating U=U messages in relevant community outreach, education info and social media campaigns
No data available.
3-Country Challenges and Barriers
Lao PDR has a legal and policy environment that is not very supportive. While the country does not criminalize transgender people or same-sex sexual acts, it considers drug use or possession for personal use a offence and also mandates parental consent for adolescents to access HIV testing. Historically too, the country has faced barriers in building supportive environment for uptake of testing services, including HIVST. Examples follow:
- Lao People’s Democratic Republic reported on efforts to decriminalize use of small quantities of drugs for personal use. The public health argument for decriminalization or reduction of penalties for drug use is that it reduces the stigma attached to drug use and encourages people who use drugs to access harm reduction services. However, the reform proposals have not been accepted.
- Lao PDR convened a national joint multi-sectoral consultation in 2015 to consider legal reforms relating to HIV. As a result, the Ministry of Health in partnership with UNAIDS, UNDP, WHO and UNODC proposed to the Penal Code Review Committee that the penalties imposed on sex workers be reduced, recognizing that heavy penalties deter sex workers from attending HIV services. However, the proposal was rejected and the penalties for sex work were increased in the new Penal Code.
- Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s national HIV consultation meeting was held in 2015 with participation of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, UNDP, UNAIDS, civil society organizations, development partners and key populations. The participants reviewed the findings of the 2015 Assessment on Legal and Protection Framework to Increase HIV Services for Key Populations. As a result, the Ministry of Health submitted a request to the Penal Code Review Committee to increase the quantity of drugs a person can possess for personal use. However, this proposal was not supported by the Committee.
- Lao PDR Country Snapshot 2020 (https://www.aidsdatahub.org/sites/default/files/resource/2020-aids-data-book-laos.pdf)
- PrEP innovation and implementation in Asia and the Pacific: Meeting Report, UNAIDS, Unitaid and WHO in association with the Institute of HIV Research and Innovation (IHRI), December 2020 (https://unitaid.org/assets/PrEP-innovation-and-implementation-in-Asia-and-the-Pacific-Meeting-Report-2020.pdf)
- Asia-Pacific Regional Expert Group Meeting on Reviewing Implementation of Commitments from the Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on HIV AIDS Beyond 2015, ESCAP, 2018 (https://www.unescap.org/events/asia-pacific-regional-expert-group-meeting-reviewing-implementation-commitments-asia-pacific)
- HIV Self-Testing Strategic Framework A Guide For Planning, Introducing And Scaling Up, WHO, October 2018 (https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/275521/9789241514859-eng.pdf)
- HIV and AIDS in Asia & The Pacific: Regional Overview (https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/asia-pacific/overview#HIV_testing_and_counselling_(HTC)_in_Asi)
- WHO, Unitaid, and UNAIDS meeting on HIV self-testing and innovative testing approaches in Asia and the Pacific Region: Country progress and plans (December 2020)
- UNAIDS Data 2020 (https://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/2020_aids-data-book_en.pdf)
- What is PrEP? August 2020 (https://focus-cambodia.com/article/what-is-prep/)
- WHO and partners urge countries to fast-track implementation and scale-up of HIV self-testing and other innovative HIV testing approaches in Asia and the Pacific, March 2021 (https://www.who.int/news/item/16-03-2021-who-and-partners-urge-countries-to-fast-track-implementation-and-scale-up-of-hiv-self-testing-and-other-innovative-hiv-testing-approaches-in-asia-and-the-pacific)
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