Practical Manual: Legal Environment Assessment for HIV, An operational guide to conducting national legal, regulatory and policy assessments for HIV

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


To assist governments, civil society and other key stakeholders to develop evidence-informed policy and strategy, to review and reform laws and policies based on human rights considerations and support increased capacity to achieve enabling legal environments for effective HIV responses.

Type of Document:
A manual with step-by-step guidance on how to undertake a national Legal Environment Assessment (LEA) with concrete case studies, tools and resources. As a follow up to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the LEA offers an opportunity to look at priority HIV, legal and human rights issues identified by the Global Commission. This includes a specific focus on reviewing the legal and regulatory framework in the HIV context with respect to stigma and discrimination; women and gender; children and young people; criminal laws and key populations; and intellectual property law and access to HIV treatment. The manual has five sections for a national LEA: (1) Planning (2) Assessment (3) Feedback and finalization (4) Dissemination, implementation and impact (5) Documenting the process: communication, monitoring and evaluation, and coordination.

Audience Intended:
Countries undertaking LEAs.

Populations Experiencing Stigma and/or Discrimination:
PLHIV, women and girls, children and young people, criminalized populations and other key populations.

Stigma and/or Discrimination:

Assess and/or Address:

The manual can be used in all countries, regardless of the type of LEA that is being conducted and the scope or the stage of development and implementation of HIV-related laws, regulations and policies. It is recommended to use the manual as a reference guide when developing and planning LEAs. The suggestions regarding possible processes and structures may guide decision-making regarding a country’s LEA—process to follow, who will be involved and how the assessment will take place— based on its particular needs, resources and time constraints.

LEAs conducted in several countries for numerous projects. Goes far beyond stigma and discrimination in health care settings but should include this. For example, laws, regulations and policies examined by LEAs include those regulating the HIV response, often related to or encompassed within those regulating the provision of health care. Key actionable recommendations from LEAs may include improving the legal environment in the interest of discrimination-free health care.

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