Now More Than Ever represents the hope of AIDS activists everywhere to place human rights at the center of the global AIDS response.
Our campaign presents 10 simple reasons why protecting human rights is essential to public health, particularly for a disease such as HIV that affects the most marginalized in society, including:
- Women and girls;
- People who use drugs
- Sex workers
- Men who have sex with men (MSM);
- Transgender persons;
- People needing palliative care; and
- People whose voices are rarely heard in the debate over how to allocate resources for health.
At the United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in 2006, world leaders reaffirmed that “the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all is an essential element in the global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”
The Human Rights and HIV/AIDS: Now More Than Ever joint statement was drafted for the XVI International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2006) by 25 leading HIV/AIDS and human rights organizations, under the leadership of the Open Society Foundations.
It has since been endorsed by hundreds of HIV/AIDS and human rights organizations worldwide, and supported by:
- The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR);
- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and
- The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
In 2008, it received a gold award in the Council on Foundations’ Wilmer Shields Rich Awards Program for Excellence in Communications.
Activities at International AIDS Conferences
Since AIDS 2006, the Now More Than Ever campaign has undertaken a large number of activities at each successive International AIDS Conference:
- AIDS 2006 (Toronto): The joint statement was first published.
- AIDS 2008 (Mexico City): The first-ever Human Rights Networking Zone was set-up in the Global Village, and the first-ever march and rally for human rights at an International AIDS Conference was held.
- AIDS 2010 (Vienna): The Human Rights Networking Zone hosted video screenings, training workshops, panel discussions and more – and served as an organizing hub for a march and rally for human rights in downtown Vienna that attracted tens of thousands of participants and culminated in a concert featuring celebrated recording artist and UNAIDS goodwill ambassador Annie Lennox.
- AIDS 2012 (Washington, D.C.): The Human Rights / Social, Economic and Prevention Justice Zone featured programming throughout the conference – including Q&A panels, strategy sessions and reports from pre-conference satellite events in Kolkata, India (on sex workers’ rights) and Kyiv, Ukraine (on the rights of people who use drugs). The zone also served as a rallying point for the “We Can End AIDS” march through downtown Washington.
- AIDS 2014 (Melbourne): The Human Rights Networking Zone featured a full slate of programming throughout the entire conference – including interactive quizzes, a video booth and discussion sessions on hot topics in human rights.
- AIDS 2016 (Durban, South Africa) – The Human Rights Networking Zone offered daily informational movies, discussions focusing on HIV criminalization, sex workers’ rights, harm reduction and other critical topics. We also organized the Code Red: Global Call to Action march for human rights.