Putting human rights at the centre of the AIDS response

The Human Rights Council held a special session to discuss progress in and challenges of addressing human rights issues in the context of the AIDS response. In his keynote speech, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Luiz Loures, stressed that the AIDS response continues to be an instrument for challenging social injustice. He urged countries and all stakeholders in the AIDS response to place human rights and the voice of those most affected by HIV at the centre of the AIDS response.

Participants said that evidence clearly shows that a lack of respect for health-related human rights leads to poorer health outcomes and the transmission of HIV. Discrimination, stigma, violence and other human rights violations continue to undermine efforts to end the AIDS epidemic. The panel called for rights-based responses to AIDS, universal health coverage to ensure equitable access, availability of medicines for all, an end to discrimination in health-care settings and increased investment in human rights programmes.  

There were also calls to eliminate punitive and discriminatory laws that lead to violations of human rights and poorer health outcomes by driving key populations away from HIV services. The panellists stressed that without addressing deeply entrenched inequalities, including gender inequality, and ensuring full enjoyment of sexual and reproductive health and rights, the world will not end the AIDS epidemic. Read more via UNAIDS