November 30, 2020

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Washington, DC — With the global AIDS response set to miss 2020 targets and COVID-19 threatening to derail progress, a new report today shows that many countries have not adopted key policies needed to take advantage of scientific breakthroughs in HIV. The science of HIV has never been better, yet as some countries succeed in reducing AIDS deaths and HIV infections, others see growing epidemics.

Ahead of World AIDS Day, the 2020 Global HIV Policy Report tracks laws and policies in 194 countries. The report finds that no country in the world has policies fully in line with WHO, UNAIDS, and other international standards. The report from the HIV Policy Lab scores countries across 33 different issues and shows that countries have, on average worldwide, adopted just over half of the key policies tracked.

“Policy is how governments bring the science of HIV to scale. When policy falls short in a pandemic, people die. Today far too many countries fall short of translating HIV science into laws and policies to halt HIV. Those that have aligned more of their policies with international standards are making more progress–but overall, national policy environments are a barrier to halting the virus and help explain why the global AIDS response is off track,” says Dr. Matthew Kavanagh, director of the Global Health Policy & Politics Initiative at Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and assistant professor of international health.

The new report tracks trends in HIV-related policy across the world for 2020 and includes a profile for every country, maps on specific policy issues, and regional comparisons that show how countries compare to one another. Through highlighting the gaps in HIV-related laws and policies, this report aims to ensure accountability for a more inclusive, effective, rights-based and science-based HIV policy response.

The HIV Policy Lab is a global collaboration of academic, UN, and civil society organizations. The 2020 Global HIV Policy Report was produced by Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute.

Read the report here.


For questions or to arrange an interview with the author, please contact Lauren Dueck at