What it means to be a man, woman or young person living with HIV can be very different now than 25 years ago when AIDS was first identified, in large part because of the availability of antiretroviral treatment. For those with access to treatment services, a diagnosis of HIV infection is no longer an imminent death sentence; although still incurable, HIV now can be managed as a chronic disease. Today, the push for universal access to life-saving drugs is a major focus of attention at national and global levels. And although realization of that ambitious goal may be a long way off, especially in the developing world, significant progress in the campaign for treatment access is being made even there. The number of people in low- and middle-income countries receiving treatment more than tripled between 2003 and 2005, from 400,000 to 1.3 million.
The key points of the briefing are:
- Sexual expression and the desire for parenthood are central to the lives of most people. Acknowledging these aspirations is essential to vindicating the human rights of people living with HIV.
- Meeting the sexual health needs of HIVpositive people is essential to global HIV prevention efforts.
- Efforts to provide sexual and reproductive health services to HIV-positive people are impeded worldwide by weak and fragmented health systems and by sexual taboos, gender inequality, and HIV stigma and discrimination.
- Effective HIV programming demands taking advantage of the perspectives, expertise and accumulated experiences of people living with HIV.