Don't Punish Vulnerable Commonwealth Citizens

30% of the world's population lives in British Commonwealth countries. Even so, 60% of everyone living with HIV is a Commonwealth resident. This is not a coincidence. Instead of focusing on prevention, many Commonwealth countries are choosing to target their most vulnerable groups.

According to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, sex workers and drug users in some Commonwealth countries often don't seek help for protection for fear of corporal punishment or the death penalty, respectively. In 41 of 54 Commonwealth countries, homosexuality is a criminal offense.

Tell Commonwealth countries that punishing vulnerable groups is not a viable cure to the epidemic. Ask the Commonwealth heads of government to focus on prevention, not punishment.
I am writing to urge you to abolish the laws which criminalize groups that are vulnerable to HIV. By punishing risky behaviors such as drug use, sex work, or homosexuality, Commonwealth countries are merely increasing the likelihood that members of those groups will not themselves seek treatment for HIV.

In your meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, please concentrate your efforts on the creation of an environment that will promote medical services and decrease stigma. I urge you to focus on prevention, not punishment.
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