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
17 Dec, 2009|
KATHMANDU (IPS) - Bhagwati Adhikari was a teenager when she was married off to a village boy of the same caste. Just a few years later when she was in her early 20s, she became a widow. Her husband, who worked as a security guard in Kathmandu, was murdered. Adhikari was left alone to support her family. When Bhagwati got married, she was just starting eighth grade but had to quit school when she moved to her husband’s family. Her in-laws would not let her study.
1 Dec, 2009|
ATHENA - 10 reasons why criminalization of HIV exposure or transmission harms women
9 Nov, 2009|
GCWA partner / women and health : WHO calls for action beyond the health sector to improve the health of girls and women
Despite considerable progress in the past decades, societies continue to fail to meet the health care needs of women at key moments of their lives, particularly in their adolescent years and in older age, a WHO report has found. Launching the report, entitled Women and health: today's evidence tomorrow's agenda, WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan called for urgent action both within the health sector and beyond to improve the health and lives of girls and women around the world, from birth to older age. "If women are denied a chance to develop their full human potential, including their p
9 Oct, 2009|
Passing AIDS from mother to child is a human rights violation and soon all pregnant women in India will have to undergo a mandatory HIV test, the parliamentary forum on HIV and AIDS said on Friday. "We want a HIV free generation. We are for testing all pregnant women for HIV so that no children can be born with the disease," Oscar Fernandes, head of the Parliamentary Forum on HIV and AIDS, told IANS. "Passing the disease to a new born is a human rights violation.
7 Oct, 2009|
Men and Women in a marriage are expected to be faithful to each other. But is that the reality on the ground? Being faithful is just a fallacy among many men and women. Reports have shown that 40 to 60% of HIV positive persons have HIV negative spouses and these are at 10 to 12% HIV transmission risk per year (CeSSRA Public Lecture: March 6, 2009). More than 75% of Ugandans do not know their HIV status and only approximately 30% of couples have tested together.
5 Oct, 2009|
In a fleeting moment whilst there is something trendy about being a "50-something woman", I am happy to report that I have just been for a wonderful relaxing 3-hour bike ride, 26 miles and back along our local estuary. Herons stalking, gulls crying, swans aslurping, children laughing and the hedges overladen with succulent blackberries on a glorious Indian summer Saturday. I may not have Dame Edna's pheromones but I certainly have nicely developing thigh muscles, and also have a few more miles - and smiles - in me too.
2 Sep, 2009|
Papua New-Guinea / Violence: Drunks raping women at HIV/AIDS refuge in Papua New Guinea western highlands
Drunken rapists are attacking women at an HIV/AIDS refuge in Papua New Guinea in "suicide" attacks, an AIDS counselling authority says. Reports published in PNG's Post Courier newspaper have highlighted a spate of abuses, intimidation and rapes of women known to be infected with HIV/AIDS in Mt Hagen, in Western Highlands Province. A donated house in the town has become a refuge for 13 women using antiretroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS, but the women say they are constantly attacked by drunks and local men. An unnamed woman, who was recently raped by a schoolboy, told the Post Courier th
19 Aug, 2009|
Niger / Human Rights: Patching gaps in HIV law. When HIV left them few job options, HIV-positive women formed NGO to learn skill
Despite a two-year-old law in Niger penalizing discrimination against people infected with HIV, seropositive women say they still receive substandard health care, are denied employment and risk losing their children because of their status. “When a woman is divorced as a result of her HIV status, it is difficult for her to keep her children,” said Sona Soumaré Conté, president of a local NGO that works with HIV-positive women.
6 Apr, 2009|
In preparation for the June UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, for the first time in the 30 year history of AIDS, women from around the world to speak to the successes, challenges, and key lessons learned. Five key priorities were identified through the consultations: 1: Inclusive and holistic prevention, treatment, care, and support for women in all of their diversity 2: Solidarity 3: Gender equality 4: Safety 5: Education, including sexuality education Documents To read a global summary of the consultation, read the global priorities.pdf Summary fact sheets regional priorities - as
1 Jan, 2008|
UNICEF Women and AIDS Report, Malaysia