All communities have the right to equal access to high quality prevention, treatment and care services. This includes communities who are most marginalised, such as drug users, men who have sex with men, sex workers, and women.
We know that by placing human rights at the core of addressing HIV we can ensure meaningful participation by all and positive public health outcomes.
This is 1 of 7 key Alliance messages calling on world leaders to recommit to universal access targets in advance of the 2011 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS which takes place in June.
Change punitive laws to fight HIV
On World AIDS Day last year The Alliance launched a new report Enabling legal environments for effective HIV responses at a lecture given by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah who overturned Section 377, a 150-year old British law banning gay sex between consenting adults in Delhi, India.
The report warns that punitive laws which disregard human rights seriously increase people’s risk of getting HIV.
Women and girls, men who have sex with men, sex workers and injecting drug users as well as people who are living with HIV struggle to access the services they need because of environments where they feel judged or that they may be punished.
Justice Shah created shockwaves around the world when he decriminalised homosexuality in Delhi: “Indian society is very conservative but from the evidence presented I could see that without changing the legal framework to help men who have sex with men access good healthcare and HIV prevention services we would not successfully be able to deal with the epidemic in our country.”
It is essential that countries around the world follow India’s example and abolish laws which are undermining human rights and stopping people from accessing the services they need.
Recommit to human rights
Attention must be paid to addressing all people’s human rights, their right to health and their need to prevent HIV and access appropriate health services.
As world leaders come together at UN High Level Meeting on AIDS it is essential that stakeholders don’t roll back on some of the previous commitments they have made, especially commitments made to upholding human rights.
The Alliance is calling for recommitments to these issues, along with additional commitments to remove laws that criminalise behaviour and ensure that strives are made to counter stigma and discrimination.
Watch an interview with Justice Shah
Download Enabling legal environments for effective HIV responses
Download Advancing Human Rights: Responding to HIV the findings of a survey among Alliance partners