- Last Updated on Monday, 17 November 2014 15:45
Everywhere in the world, HIV-positive people are still subject to serious forms of stigma and discrimination. They risk losing their jobs, being ostracised from their communities and being denied equal access to goods and services necessary to realise their human rights, and even the protection of the law.
Recognising the human rights of people infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) or living with Aids (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is fundamental to addressing the HIV and Aids epidemic. It is with this in mind that World Aids Day, celebrated on the first day of December every year, was started in 1988. Since then World Aids Day has become one of the most recognised health day celebrations globally. It is celebrated to increase awareness about the condition, fight prejudice, discrimination and human rights violations and through education correct the many misunderstandings about how HIV is transmitted. “Getting to Zero” (zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero Aids-related deaths) is the theme selected by the World Aids Campaign (WAC) to commemorate World Aids Day until 2015.
Human rights violations
On the one hand human rights violations fuel the epidemic by increasing people’s vulnerability to infection, for example where women are considered inferior to men or in societies where violence is condoned. On the other hand, human rights violations often follow infection where people living with HIV and Aids are subjected to various forms of discrimination and ill-treatment, including harassment, arbitrary arrest and torture.
All people, including people living with HIV, have a right to the highest attainable standard of health. Respecting, protecting and fulfilling the full range of human rights of all individuals are indispensable to reducing the rates of HIV infection, expanding access to care and treatment and mitigating the impact of the epidemic, including acts of discrimination and violence.
Discriminatory policies and practices can result in people being denied access to the information, support and services necessary to make informed decisions and to reduce their vulnerability and risk of infection.
Everyone living with HIV has:
- The right to privacy and confidentiality
- The right to equal access to treatment
- The right of access to information
- Sexual and reproductive rights
- The right to equal opportunities in the workplace
- The right to equal financial services from financial institutions, for example home loans
- The right to legal representation and equality in judicial matters
- The right to be treated with dignity.
Communities are sometimes also restricted in their efforts to alleviate the suffering of those living with HIV and Aids. Therefore, governments and communities are requested to respect everyone:
- Campaigning to safeguard the physical integrity and security of people living with HIV and Aids
- Working for the protection of people who are at risk of acquiring HIV because of discrimination or as a result of violence, including sexual violence
- Campaigning on the right to health, including available, accessible, acceptable and quality health services for people living with HIV
- Working for the dissemination of information and human rights standards relevant to the prevention and treatment of HIV and Aids
- Working for access to health care and education for prisoners living with HIV and Aids
- Campaigning for the protection of HIV and Aids activists and educators who are under threat by governments or individuals because of their work
- Campaigning for the rights of uprooted people, including those who have been trafficked, who face particular risks of violence and HIV infection.
In addition, Amnesty International has called on all governments worldwide to:
- Fulfil the international commitment to the right to health
- Remove funding conditions that inhibit the prevention of HIV and Aids
- Share equally the benefits of scientific progress
- Ensure monitoring and evaluation for human rights and evidence-based solutions.
If all roleplayers respect these rights, the result will be a better life for all.
HIV/AIDS and human rights. Retrieved from: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/HIV/Pages/HIVIndex.aspx
World Aids Day. Retrieved from: http://www.indiacelebrating.com/events/world-aids-day/
World AIDS Day 2012 theme:“Getting to Zero”. Retrieved from: https://datadiary2012.wordpress.com/tag/inspirational-quotes-world-aids-day/
(Revised by M van Os)