Inter­sec­tion­al­ity refers to the recog­ni­tion of the ways in which social iden­ti­ties over­lap and, in some cir­cum­stances, can cre­ate com­pound­ing expe­ri­ences of dis­crim­i­na­tion and oppres­sion. Alli­den­ti­ties are inter­sec­tional. Race, eth­nic­ity, gen­der, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, and other traits inform the way peo­ple view them­selves and are treated in soci­ety. Inter­sec­tion­al­ity is also a key con­sid­er­a­tion in the HIV response because it can com­pound vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to the HIV pan­demic, or con­versely, give peo­ple access to mul­ti­ple sources of sup­port. For exam­ple, gen­der non­con­form­ing peo­ple who inject drugs may need more spe­cific and inten­sive inter­ven­tions than cis­gen­der peo­ple who inject drugs because they face mul­ti­ple types of stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion.

In prac­tice, account­ing for inter­sec­tion­al­ity may take the fol­low­ing forms: con­duct­ing sur­veys of key pop­u­la­tions to see what sup­ple­men­tary sup­ports are needed, adding gen­der affir­ma­tion and racial equity mod­ules to train­ings for law enforce­ment and health­care providers, pro­vid­ing both male and female con­doms, and invest­ing in peer out­reach and edu­ca­tion net­works to engage crim­i­nalised pop­u­la­tions. Inter­sec­tion­al­ity should be a vital con­sid­er­a­tion in both the craft­ing and enforce­ments of HIV laws and poli­cies.

As reflected in the Lan­guage Com­pendium, sev­eral inter­na­tional doc­u­ments have acknowl­edged that “indi­vid­u­als can hold mul­ti­ple iden­ti­ties across dif­fer­ent spec­trums” and that indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ences of these iden­ti­ties are “inter­con­nected.” “Impor­tantly, the com­plex inter­sec­tions between the struc­tural bar­ri­ers which affect key pop­u­la­tions and their gen­der, dis­abil­ity, edu­ca­tion, race, reli­gion and socioe­co­nomic sta­tus can­not be ignored.” More­over, the Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on the Right to Health has called for an “inter­sec­tional and rights-based approach to vio­lence that addresses the root causes of such vio­lence, includ­ing the binary con­cep­tu­al­iza­tion of gen­der and het­ero­nor­ma­tive norms, and patri­ar­chal, racist, ableist and cap­i­tal­ist oppres­sion and deter­mi­nants of health in law and prac­tice, is urgently needed.”


2021 Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026

2021 Political declaration on HIV and AIDS

2020 Resolution on violence against women migrant workers

2016 Resolution on Women, the Girl Child and HIV and AIDS

2016 Outcome Document of the Session on the World Drug Problem

2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS

2011 Political Declaration of the HLM on NCDs

2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS

Expert precedents

2022 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health

2022 Report of the Independent Expert on SOGI: Law of Inclusion

2022 Report of the Independent Expert on SOGI: Practices of Exclusion

2016 General Comment No.22 on the Right to Sexual and Reproductive Health

1999 General Recommendation No.24 on women and health


2022 WHO Consolidated Guidelines on Person-centred HIV Strategic Information

2022 WHO Consolidated Guidelines on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STI Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment and Care for Key Populations

2021 State of World Population

2016 Prevention Gap Report