Human Rights and Universal Access
Making human rights a reality has long been recognised as a central part of effective HIV responses.
While protecting and promoting human rights has obvious merit in and of itself, the HIV pandemic has brought into stark relief the added and compelling justification of public health imperatives for safeguarding human rights. However, despite broad recognition by governments of the importance of human rights and international commitments to them, gender inequality and gender-based discrimination continue to be fundamental human rights challenges, acting as a barrier to addressing the HIV-related needs of women and girls.
Criminalisation of sex between men, sex work and injecting drug use fuels human rights violations and has a detrimental impact on access to health services. Discrimination against people living with HIV and key populations is widespread, including breaches of confidentiality, refusal of access to often poor health services, and illegal arrest, detention and violence by police. More work is needed at every level of the response to translate principles into practice and SAA has a key role to play to highlight the HIV and rights-related concerns of marginalized populations to policy makers and to advocate for improved policies that better protect the human rights of these people and ensure universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for all who needs it.