The risk of HIV infection and its impact feeds on violations of human rights, including discrimination against women and marginalized groups such as sex workers, people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men. HIV also frequently begets human rights violations such as further discrimination and violence. Over the past decade the critical need for strengthening human rights to effectively respond to the epidemic and deal with its effects has become evermore clear. Protecting human rights and promoting public health are mutually reinforcing.
Several countries still have policies that interfere with the accessibility and effectiveness of HIV-related measures for prevention and care. Examples include laws criminalizing consensual sex between men, prohibiting condom and needle access for prisoners, and using residency status to restrict access to prevention and treatment services. At the same time, laws and regulations protecting people with HIV from discrimination are not enacted, or fully implemented or enforced.
Reforming laws and policies that are based in deeply-rooted social attitudes and norms such as gender inequality requires multisectoral collaboration. Although not sufficient to change social attitudes, legislation is important for addressing acts of discrimination. Civil society, including organizations of people living with HIV, as well as other parts of society, including police and justice systems, have a critical role to play. International organizations and donors can also play a positive role in support of local and national actors.
The protection of human rights, both of those vulnerable to infection and those already infected, is not only right, but also produces positive public health results against HIV. In particular, it has also become increasingly clear that:
- National and local responses will not work without the full engagement and participation of those affected by HIV, particularly people living with HIV.
- The human rights of women, young people and children must be protected if they are to avoid infection and withstand the impact of HIV.
- The human rights of marginalized groups (sex workers, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, prisoners) must also be respected and fulfilled for the response to HIV to be effective.
- Supportive frameworks of policy and law are essential to effective HIV response
The latest from the GCWA
19 May, 2011|
On the 2011 International Day against Homophobia and Trans phobia, and on every day, the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS joins partners in denouncing stigma and discrimination rooted in homophobia. Such stigma and discrimination, often coupled with violence and hate crimes, are barriers to an effective AIDS response and violate human rights.
2 May, 2011|
THE GLOBAL COMMISSION ON HIV AND THE LAW IS SEEKING SUBMISSIONS FROM AFRICA DEADLINE: 10 JUNE 2011 On behalf of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, this is a Call for Submissions for the Africa Regional Dialogue. The Regional Dialogue will take place on 3-4 August 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
20 Apr, 2011|
Global / women's and girls' rights: Put girls first, speakers urge governments during Commission on Population and Development event
“Investing in adolescent girls benefits everyone, and when they flourish, their families and communities flourish as well. That’s why they are at the heart of our agenda.” This was the message of Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, speaking at the 44th Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD). Dr Osotimehin addressed a side event called Putting Girls First during the CPD, which ran from 11-15 April at UN Headquarters in New York.
27 Mar, 2011|
GCWA Commission on Population and Development information note
25 Jan, 2011|
Sex Work Criminalisation and HIV
23 Feb, 2010|
TRAT, Thailand, Feb 22 (IPS) - Veena Panudej makes a living in the night like so many other women and men in this quiet eastern corner of Thailand. They work under the light of the stars in rubber estates spread beyond this city close to the Cambodian border. By sunrise, Veena takes stock of what she has finished in her nocturnal job, tapping rubber trees for the white sap that is collected in coconut shells attached to the slender trunks of each tree. The 34-year-old was hardly disappointed on a recent Tuesday by a ritual that began shortly after midnight.
18 Feb, 2010|
MANILA (IPS) - Women and poverty still share an uncomfortable spot on the development matrix of countries across Asia-Pacific that are struggling to end deprivation, according to the newly launched third joint report of the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). "A woman’s face remains the picture of poverty," Dr Noeleen Heyzer, U.N.
10 Feb, 2010|
The overlap between injecting drug use and sex work is a driving force in the so-called “feminization” of Asia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. Between 70 and 80 percent of women injecting drug users (IDUs) are involved in some kind of sex work, according to Ratna Mardiati, a former director of the Drug Dependence Hospital (RSKO) in East Jakarta with 14 years’ experience dealing with injecting drug users. “They are not formal sex workers but they sell their bodies when they need money,” she says. Other sources of structural inequality, such as the gender wage gap — which sees Indonesian women earning on
13 Jan, 2010|
HIV tests will soon become compulsory for all expectant mothers as the Health Ministry carries out a Shs 2.3 billion merger of Sexual Reproductive Health (RH) and HIV programmes this fiscal year. According to Dr. Collins Tusingwire, a Senior Medical Officer in-charge of integrating RH and HIV services, the integration has reached 80% of all health facilities in the country. These include regional referral hospitals, district health centres and Health Centres (HC-3s).
20 Dec, 2009|
WASHINGTON (WOMENSENEWS)--Ice was broken here in early December among three powerful groups of South Asian women. About 20 female parliamentarians, journalists and staff members of nonprofit groups in South Asia left Washington, D.C., with strategies they believed could reduce the current specter of women losing their homes after caring for spouses who died of AIDS, as well as aiding HIV-positive women who are unable to reach rural clinics and teens who aren't aware of how to prevent the infection. They were also carrying with them a loose agreement to work together within their region to sto