Sexuality, Gender and Rights

Many of the greatest challenges and opportunities in global health are at the intersections of sexuality, gender and rights. Economic and gender inequality are, for example, closely associated with maternal morbidity and mortality, and may be powerful proxy measure of the strength or weakness of different health systems. 

HIV remains among the top 10 causes of death globally, even with the dramatic progress made since its peak in 2005. Both between and within countries, new HIV infections and HIV-related morbidity and mortality are ever more closely associated with inequality – with African-Americans and Latinx people disproportionately  vulnerable within the United States and migrants (and sexual and gender minorities) increasingly left behind by progress in many African countries.

Many people in the world’s poorest countries still do not have consistent access to modern methods of contraception, while many others around the world are not supported to manage their fertility choices. Traditional gender norms often harm girls and women, but they harm boys and men too, as when males are less likely to seek and use health services than females. 

Social exclusion and discrimination remain widespread against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex around the world and are associated with a wide range of harmful attitudes and actions often leading to increased mental and physical health challenges, alongside poor support by many health care workers. USC IIGH has a long track record of scholarship and public service on sexuality, gender and rights, often including a focus on adolescents. 

With academic and civil society partners in Brazil, Kenya, Malaysia and other countries across Asia and the African continent, working with UNDP and the Global Fund in particular, USC IIGH is actively involved in addressing the negative impacts of bad law on health outcomes for marginalized populations. 

Building on this foundation, over the next five years USC IIGH will deepen its collaboration with relevant schools and departments at USC and partners around the world, including practical problem-solving to influence gender norms so as to improve health equity and health outcomes. Our team will work to increase attention to the health needs and rights of sexual and gender minorities, and expanding the lessons learned from health-related law reform to support the most marginalized populations within societies.