Inextricable links: HIV and human rights

Published: December 10, 2014

Kevin Osborne
Original Article:

The AIDS epidemic has been characterized by the stigma and discrimination of people who are all too often already on the margins of society.

This marginalization has made it more difficult for millions of people on every continent to access much-needed HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services. As we recognize International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, we cannot lose sight of the inextricable link between HIV and human rights, which should be the cornerstone of our response to and understanding of this epidemic.

While the increased global conversation about the end of AIDS is aspirational and motivates action, an AIDS-free generation will not be achieved without a sizable investment in tailored programs and responses that address the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who inject drugs and transgender people. And this is beginning to happen.

At the 20th International AIDS Conference earlier this year in Melbourne, meeting the needs of key populations emerged as a main message. Private foundations and donors are increasingly refocusing their strategies on these groups. Earlier this year, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the U.S. Agency for International Development created LINKAGES, the first-ever global project dedicated to key populations across the continuum of HIV services for key populations affected by HIV. The timing could not be more opportune. The proof of success will lie in the increased availability of, access to and retention in HIV services by key populations — especially among those living in policy and social environments that are not supportive.

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