10 Reasons
Why Human Rights Should Occupy the Centre of the Global AIDS Struggle

AIDS poses unique challenges and requires an exceptional response.

More than any other modern epidemic, AIDS challenges governments’ responsibility and accountability. Deep fears and prejudices surrounding sex, blood, disease, and death—as well as the perception that HIV is related to “deviant” or “immoral” behaviors such as sex outside marriage, sex between men, and drug use—causes political leaders to shy away from addressing the epidemic. Controversial issues such as gender equality and adolescent sexuality are neglected in the global response to AIDS, not least because women and children lack the political power to keep their issues high on the agenda. Governments therefore continue to devote scant resources to HIV interventions targeting marginalized populations, a pattern the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has called “a serious mismanagement of resources and a failure to respect fundamental human rights.”

With the expanded resources now available for HIV/AIDS, it is finally possible to imagine HIV treatment programs joining HIV prevention efforts in an integrated, rights-respecting continuum of services. Unfortunately, moralistic approaches to HIV prevention, which place new obstacles in the way of reaching populations that most need information and services, hinder such a comprehensive approach. —Joseph Amon, 2006