AIDS status & challenges of the epidemic
4. Are human rights and vulnerable populations sufficiently protected?
- 4.1 Is AIDS sufficiently grounded in human rights?
- 4.2 What has been done to reduce vulnerability to HIV infection?
4.1 Is AIDS sufficiently grounded in human rights?
Despite some improvements between 2003 and 2005, the fight
in many countries is still insufficiently based on human rights.
This relates for instance to the rights of all
groups to prevention and
as well as the non-discrimination of people living with
- Eighteen out of 21 countries reported improved
policies, laws and regulations to promote and protect human
- Sixty percent of countries surveyed have laws and
regulations to protect people living with
from discrimination. However, in many cases these laws are
not fully enforced, often because there is no money set
aside for it.
- Half of the countries studied acknowledge the
existence of policies that make HIV prevention and care
measures less accessible and effective, for instance, making
consensual sex between males illegal, prohibiting condom and
needle access for prisoners, or not providing prevention and
services to non-residents.
4.2 What has been done to reduce vulnerability to HIV infection?
A commercial sex worker in Cambodia
In recent years, more money has been available for
prevention. However, many countries have mainly spent this money
on prevention programmes which focused on the general public
rather than on high risk
groups, which would be more cost-effective and more likely to
have an impact on the
Vulnerable population groups include for instance, sex workers,
men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and
Studies in Uganda show that children who drop out of
school are three times more likely to be
in their twenties than children who complete basic education.
Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have lowered or cancelled
school fees for vulnerable children but not all countries have
set aside money to help children stay in school.
To make injecting drug users less vulnerable,
some countries offer syringe exchange programmes and drug
Iran, for instance, ordered that illegal drug users no longer be
treated as criminals but as patients. However, overall, fewer
than 20% of people who inject drugs receive
Only ten out of the 24 countries that reported information on
sex workers managed to offer prevention
services to at least half of this
Although in many countries the prevalence of
is rising among men who have sex with men,
public health authorities are not spending enough money on
preventing HIV in this
Wars and disasters often force large numbers of people from
their homes, disrupt health-care services and expose people to
severe health risks, including the risk of
infection. Countries are increasingly including HIV into their
action plans for emergency situations and all UN-sanctioned
peacekeeping operations have full- or part-time HIV