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

“Rights-based” responses to HIV are practical, and they work.

Human rights approaches to HIV are not abstract, but real, practical, and cost-effective. Countries that have placed human rights at the center of their AIDS responses have seen epidemics averted or slowed. Examples of human rights responses to HIV include the following:

  • Ensuring that national HIV programs include measures to combat discrimination and violence against people living with HIV or AIDS and those at risk of infection
  • Ensuring that young people have full access to HIV information, sexual and life skills education, as well as to condoms and services for sexually transmitted infections and family planning
  • Investing in legal empowerment of people living with HIV and AIDS so that they know their rights and can mobilize around them
  • Making policy changes to reduce prison overcrowding so that people are not incarcerated illegally, and consequently less vulnerable to HIV from sexual violence and needle-sharing while incarcerated
  • Removing legal and other barriers to evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment for people who use illegal drugs
  • Establishing clear legal remedies for violence and discrimination against sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, and other marginalized groups
  • Providing women and girls with effective remedies against all forms of genderbased violence, inside and outside marriage, as well as redress against legally sanctioned discrimination in access to economic opportunities, property, and inheritance

States’ refusal to distribute condoms to prisoners in most developing countries leaves huge numbers of people vulnerable to HIV, a vulnerability heightened by overcrowding and sexual violence. —Mark Heywood, 2004

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