Key populations, identified by UNAIDS as female sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), and injecting drug users, have the highest risk of contracting and transmitting HIV. Yet they also have the least access to prevention, care, and treatment services because their behaviors are often stigmatized, and even criminalized. The Population Council generates evidence, implements innovative programs, and influences national health policies to reduce HIV infection and transmission among key populations, and to link them to the full range of HIV services.
The Council was among the first organizations to document the size and HIV prevalence and incidence rates of key populations in Africa. Our work continues to fill knowledge gaps that compromise the success of HIV prevention efforts and to catalyze national dialogue in spite of discriminatory laws and policies. Our work in Kenya resulted in the first regional East African conference on the health needs of MSM, and we conducted the first study in India to document the sexual and drug-related HIV risks of injecting drug users.