UN: AIDS epidemic still driven by human rights violations, UN experts warn

New York, US (PANA) - Ahead of next week’s UN high-level meeting on ending AIDS
by 2030, UN experts on human rights have warned that the epidemic is still being
driven by human rights violations, and urged all governments to remove punitive laws, policies and practices.

PANA in New York reports that the warning was in a joint statement issued by UN Special
Rapporteurs on the right health, Dainius Puras; on extreme poverty, Philip Alston;
on violence against women, Dubravka Šimonovic; and the Chairperson of the
UN Working Group on Discrimination against women, Frances Raday.

They stated: "Such laws and practices impede, and sometimes altogether bar,
certain populations from accessing information, as well as health goods and
services that are critical to the prevention, treatment, and care of HIV.

"For instance, barriers to access health services, such as third party
authorization, deter many adolescents and young women from seeking sexual
and reproductive health information and services.This in turn can lead to higher
level of unsafe abortion, unwanted pregnancies, and HIV infections.

"We have an historic opportunity not to be missed: to put an end to AIDS within
our lifetimes.The international community has made great progress in the fight
to end HIV/AIDS, but it has been uneven.The present challenge is to reach the
many who are still being left behind.

"Specific populations that continue to be left out and bear the brunt
of the epidemic include people who inject drugs, who are 24 times more likely
to acquire HIV, women in prostitution/sex workers, who are 10 times more
likely to acquire HIV, and men who have sex with men, who are 24 times more
likely to acquire HIV than adults in the general population."

Others are transgender people, who are 18 times more likely to acquire HIV and
prisoners, who are five times more likely to be living with HIV than the general

According to the experts, evidence showed that health care settings were among
the most frequent environments where people experience HIV-related stigma,
discrimination, and even violence.

"Examples include denial of health care and unjust barriers in service provision,
extreme violations of autonomy and bodily integrity such as forced abortions and
sterilizations, undue third party authorizations for accessing services, and
mandatory treatment; or compulsory detention," they added.

The UN General Assembly is convening a High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS by
2030 from 8 to 10 June in New York, which will be attended by some world leaders,
health ministers, government representatives, UN officials, HIV/AIDS advocates,
civil society organizations and the media.

The meeting will chart the way forward to ending AIDS as a public health threat by
2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

PANA gathered that the meeting will be guided by the principles on which the
successes of the AIDS response are built, which entail inclusion, participation
and dignity, as enshrined in the UN Charter.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  3June2016

03 juin 2016 18:15:37

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