The 20th International AIDS Conference was held in Melbourne, Australia in July 2014. This conference serves as the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV/AIDS. Thousands of participants meet to assess the latest developments in the field and to collectively chart a course forward. The Health and Human Rights Law Project co-led the conference workshop, “Gender, Sexual Orientation, and HIV/AIDS in Conflict & Humanitarian Emergencies.”
In a room filled to capacity and screened in an overflow area via simulcast, co-facilitators Lara Stemple (Director of UCLA’s Health and Human Rights Law Project), Gary Jones (UNAIDS), and Henia Dakkak (UNFPA) discussed how gendered and heteronormative assumptions impact HIV/AIDS interventions and how these responses can be broadened so as to protect underserved and marginalized populations during conflict and emergencies. The workshop used case studies from Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nepal. The studies highlighted HIV-relevant issues for same-sex practicing persons in refugee camps, male victims of rape in armed conflict, and transgender persons seeking services in the wake of natural disaster.