Speakers and activists at the World Aids Conference in Melbourne have taken aim at countries with anti-gay laws, stating that they help to allow HIV to spread.

Co-chair of the conference, Nobel laureate Francoise Barre-Sinoussi heavily criticised countries which have laws against homosexuality.

“The cruel reality is that in every region of the world, stigma and discrimination continue to be the main barriers to effective access to health,” she said, speaking at Sunday’s opening address.

“We need again to shout out loud that we will not stand idly by when governments, in violation of all human rights principles, are enforcing monstrous laws that only marginalise populations that are already the most vulnerable in society.”

She is credited with being one of those who originally discovered HIV.

There are currently 79 countries with laws against homosexuality, with seven having the death penalty for those found guilty.

The some 20,000 Delegates at the conference are urged to sign a Melbourne Declaration, which states that LGBT people “are entitled to equal rights and to equal access to HIV prevention, care and treatment information and services”.

Delegates at the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne on Sunday paid tribute to the AIDS activists and researchers who died onboard the flight MH17, when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine.