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Global Fund Calls for End to Compulsory Treatment

The Global Fund called for the closure of compulsory treatment programs to change sexual orientation, compulsory rehabilitation of sex workers and compulsory drug detention centers. The Global Fund committed not to finance programs in such facilities.

The Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee of the Global Fund Board reported to a meeting of the full Board on 20-21 November that under a new policy the Global Fund explicitly refuses to fund programs with compulsory treatment.

The Global Fund is committed to ensuring that programs it supports do not infringe upon human rights. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health and other UN experts have found that these programs frequently include torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as forced labor, among other abuses. Twelve UN agencies have called for the closure of compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation programs.

“The evidence is overwhelming that compulsory treatment facilities for sex workers and drug users, and programs that seek to change sexual orientation, are not scientifically valid and undermine the fight against HIV, TB and malaria,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “Trust is essential in the relationship between health workers and patients. The fear of compulsory treatment drives people underground and makes it harder to reach them.”

While opposing compulsory treatment facilities, the Global Fund may in exceptional circumstances finance scientifically sound medical services to save lives, where there are heightened processes and scrutiny. For instance, to provide lifesaving treatment to people detained in a compulsory treatment facility, the Global Fund may fund health services for detainees in a voluntary, community-based treatment program located outside the detention facility. Exceptions would be determined based on consultation with UN partners.


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