Sexual rights


Sex­ual rights are a sub­set of human rights that impli­cate gen­der and sex­u­al­ity. Sex­ual rights include pro­tec­tions against vio­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion in sex­ual sit­u­a­tions and based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, as well as access to repro­duc­tive health infor­ma­tion, pre­ven­tive care, and treat­ment. Vio­la­tions to sex­ual rights can be direct, such as through sex­ual assault and harass­ment, or indi­rect, like in the form of anti-LGBTQIA+ laws that enable stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion. Both the expe­ri­ence and antic­i­pa­tion of these abuses can lead to men­tal ill­ness, phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity, incar­cer­a­tion, and social ostraci­sa­tion, among other effects. These effects derived from the vio­la­tion of sex­ual rights can be uniquely trau­ma­tis­ing and con­se­quen­tial.

Sex­ual rights are fun­da­men­tal to assert­ing and main­tain­ing repro­duc­tive health. Respec­tively, these can influ­ence risks of HIV expo­sure, will­ing­ness to undergo HIV test­ing, and abil­ity to seek out and adhere to qual­ity HIV treat­ment. Unless and until peo­ple can be assured their sex­ual rights are pro­tected, HIV pro­grams and poli­cies may be unable to fully sup­port them.


2021 Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026

2021 Political declaration on HIV and AIDS

2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS

2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS

Expert precedents

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


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

2021 State of World Population

2021 WHO Consolidated Guidelines on HIV Prevention, Testing, Treatment, Service Delivery and Monitoring

2016 Prevention Gap Report