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Speaking Out: Nepal

Three decades after the first case of HIV was found in Nepal, HIV has become one of the most devastating diseases the country has ever faced. To date it is estimated that 40,000 people are living with HIV and nearly 4,000 have died of HIV-related illnesses in Nepal. Throughout this time, people living with HIV and key affected populations, have experienced and witnessed many violations of their human rights. The project, ‘Human Rights Count for Key Populations Living with HIV (KPLHIV)’, aims to document these violations, to aid advocacy against them and to devise long-term solutions.

Speaking Out: Kenya

In Kenya, networks of key populations and people living with HIV decided to focus on human rights violations among female sex workers living with HIV. Interviews with 30 sex workers living with HIV in six counties – Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Machakos, Kisumu and Busia – brought to the surface the many human rights violations female sex workers living with HIV face while accessing healthcare services, and violations by law enforcement officers.

Based on real life examples of violations, the Kenyan networks defined recommendations to promote the right to healthcare and access to justice, and to reform laws and policies.

Global Advocacy Agenda

The People Living with HIV Global Advocacy Agenda, 2013-2015, was launched in December 2012. The Global Advocacy Agenda has guided networks of people living with HIV and other organizations in their advocacy since 1999.Throughout 2012, people living with HIV across the globe took part in an extensive consultation process, informing the development of this renewed Global Advocacy Agenda.

The Global Advocacy Agenda is a groundbreaking document for the movement of people living with HIV, guiding efforts to achieving Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention. Capturing the unmet needs of people living with HIV with respect to Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support; Human Rights; and Community Mobilisation, Strengthening and Activism, the Global Advocacy Agenda is designed to strengthen and enhance existing advocacy initiatives, in this critical period leading up to 2015. It reflects the diversity of the advocacy efforts within the community and as such is more than just an advocacy resource but a tool which galvanizes and unites people living with HIV and allies.

Despite the varied needs of people living with HIV the Global Advocacy Agenda focuses on the commonalities and principles that are pre-requisites to realizing a truly effective HIV response. However, as the rights and involvement of people living with HIV are still too often ignored for political, ideological and economic reasons, people living with HIV must take a lead in shaping the advocacy that effects change in all our lives – our meaningful involvement is crucial.

Available in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

A Call to Action to People Living with HIV

We are people living with HIV.

Over three decades into this epidemic, we are angry that still 4500 of us are dying of AIDS- related illnesses every day. Sixteen years after developing effective treatment, more than half of all of us who need it cannot access these life-saving drugs. The progress that has been made in treatment access is under threat.

People without access to treatment die!

We are angry that our human rights are increasingly being violated. We are faced with involuntary testing, forced sterilization and being treated as criminals because of our HIV status. Every day we are thrown out of our homes, our schools and our workplaces.

This is an assault on our humanity!

We pay tribute to the women and men who started the people living with HIV movement. Because of them, we are alive today. As people living with HIV, we have achieved so much. It is people living with HIV who have:

  • created harm reduction and safer sex
  • inspired a whole new movement for health care
  • linked health care to human rights
  • brought visibility to LGBT issues
  • broken big pharma’s monopoly on medicine
  • brought back social and economic rights into the global conversation; and
  • stimulated the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.

But we are now facing more barriers to our health and our rights. We face:

  • punitive laws and policies, resulting in a hostile and disabling environment
  • withdrawal of funding and new trade rules and regulations, dramatically reducingour access to drugs and care
  • fragmented and complacent communities, resulting in weakened advocacy.We stand side by side as young activists living with HIV and long-term advocates to tear down these barriers. If we don’t act now new infections will rise; we will never achieve “universal access”, “get to zero” or “end AIDS”.

We are in a state of emergency!

We will have access to the best available prevention, treatment and care for ourselves and our children.
We will enjoy all human rights and freedoms.
We will not stand idle and watch our sisters and brothers die.

We, as a coalition of people living with HIV, unite around the People Living with HIV Global Advocacy Agenda, which was developed by our communities around the world. The Global Advocacy Agenda describes what we all still need to ensure access to prevention, treatment, care and support, to protect our human rights and strengthen all of our communities.

This is a call to reinvigorate and galvanize the movement of people living with HIV in the face of this unprecedented global crisis that affects us all.

We urge all people living with HIV, networks of people living with HIV, and networks of key populations, to commit to join together in solidarity.

The next struggle of the People Living with HIV Movement has begun. For success, we need an even greater and more forceful movement that spans every region and every country with its roots embedded deep in each of our communities.

Please join us!

Available in the Arab, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, Russian and Spanish

Advancing HIV Justice

Prosecutions of people living with HIV who have, or are believed to have, put others at risk of acquiring HIV continue to occur in many countries around the world under outdated or overly broad HIV-specific criminal statutes or the inappropriate application of a wide range of general criminal laws.

These laws and prosecutions are often perceived to be about deterring or punishing malicious, intentional HIV transmission when, in fact, the vast majority of cases have involved neither malicious intent nor transmission.

Such laws and prosecutions for alleged HIV non-disclosure, potential or perceived exposure and non-intentional transmission (‘HIV criminalisation’) are of concern in the following ways:

Prosecuting consensual sex between adults even when there was prior disclosure of HIV-positive  z status;5 or, in the absence of disclosure, the alleged exposure posed a very low risk of HIV infection,6 and/or HIV transmission did not occur.

Effectively treating sex between a person living with HIV and an HIV-negative partner as a physical or sexual assault in the absence of disclosure of known HIV-positive status, regardless of whether there was any malicious intent to harm.

Applying harsh prison sentences to alleged HIV “exposure” during non-consensual acts that pose  very little or no risk of HIV infection, e.g. biting, spitting or scratching.9 Applying increased prison sentences to people living with HIV who are convicted of sex work, even when there is no evidence that they have intentionally or actually put their clients at risk of acquiring HIV.

Applying the criminal law to vertical transmission of HIV during pregnancy or via breastfeeding.

In July 2012, the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) and the HIV Justice Network presented an analysis of trends in global HIV criminalisation at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington DC.

Stigma and Discrimination at Work

HIV is a major obstacle to employment security. People living with HIV may be unable to find or maintain employment as a result of ill health. However, evidence from the People Living with HIV Stigma Index (PLHIV Stigma Index) reveals that HIV-related stigma and discrimination are as frequently or more frequently a cause of unemployment/denial of work opportunity as ill health in many national settings.

This evidence brief has been prepared by the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), and was funded by the ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work (ILO/AIDS). It includes PLHIV Stigma Index findings from nine countries in four regions: Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia (sub-Saharan Africa), Estonia and Poland (Eastern Europe), Malaysia and the Philippines (Asia-Pacific,) and Argentina and Mexico (South America). PLHIV Stigma Index data clearly shows that HIV-related stigma and discrimination directly impede access to work by people living with HIV by:

  • obstructing entry to the labour market
  • changing the type of work individuals are allowed to perform
  • preventing promotion to more senior positions
  • triggering people being fired from their jobs
  • impeding access to adult education and training

A poster presentation with a summary of its findings are available here.

Negotiating Positive Living – Issues Facing HIV-Positive MSM in the Asia Pacific

This study is a concerted effort by APN+ to tell and make sense of the stories of positive MSM and their relationships with HIV, society and culture in the region. By focusing on community participation from the onset of study design to implementation, this study encourages mutual understanding by engaging positive MSM communities in the region and providing them safe spaces to tell their stories. By doing so, we have attempted to meet individuals and communities at their own levels, and facilitate a deeper understanding of their relationship with HIV.

Non-Negotiable Language for the Outcome Document of the UN High Level Meeting on HIV

At the request of several missions, the Civil Society Coalition has put together a briefing paper on the language in the latest version of the Outcome Document. Based on the civil society declaration, the advocacy messages for member states missions, and briefing documents and letters put out by wider civil society, this briefing paper focuses on the most contentious issues in the negotiations in each of our  four categories: human rights, treatment, prevention, and funding.

Human Rights Count! Information Sheet

The Human Rights Count! is an evidence-gathering methodology initiated and led by the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) to document HIV-related human rights violations against people living with HIV and convert the evidence into advocacy, policy and programmes.

The aim of the Human Rights Count! is to decrease the number of human rights violations against people living with HIV by coordinating evidence-informed advocacy against these violations.

This Information Sheet explains what the Human Rights Count tool is and how it can be used.

Available in English and French

Human Rights & Accountability – A Message for UNGASS

Ahead of UNGASS 2011 GNP+ sent a message to the governments of the members states attending the UN meeting. In our message we demanded the following:

  • GNP+ calls on governments to commit to respecting, protecting, and fulfilling the human rights of people living with, affected by, and vulnerable to HIV
  • GNP+ calls on governments to commit to achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support (universal access) by 2015
  • GNP+ calls on governments to commit to recognising and responding to the needs of men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender people, sex workers and people who use drugs
  • GNP+ calls on governments to commit to the greater and more meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in national regional and global levels of the HIV response
  • GNP+ calls on governments to commit to introducing and promoting laws that protect the rights of people living with, affected by and vulnerable to HIV. Governments should review their laws, practices and policies and amend any that cause barriers to accessing HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services
  • GNP+ calls on governments to commit to recognising and responding to the needs of women and girls, particularly women and girls living with and most affected by HIV
  • GNP+ calls on governments to commit to country level HIV responses that are transparent and accountable to those most affected by HIV

Evaluation of ERNA

During the European Regional Red Cross & Red Crescent Conference in 2002 held in Berlin National Societies made a unanimous decision to focus on both HIV/AIDS and TB and to strengthen the network to support these activities. This was further reiterated during the 14th International AIDS Conference in Barcelona in 2002 when the Federation publically reaffirmed their on-going commitment and involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

This is the first formal evaluation of ERNA (European Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies Network on HIV/AIDS &TB) since its formation in the late 1990s. It covers principally the previous 4 years (since 2007) and is based on terms of reference developed during the September 2010 General Meeting in Minsk, which include reviewing relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and impact of the network in relation to the ERNA Terms of Reference.

Available in English and Russian

Human rights count! Nepal

This study of documenting human rights violations against PLHIV in Nepal was conducted by the National Association of PLHA in Nepal (NAP+N) in collaboration with the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+). This study was conducted across the country for the first time, and documented 30 human right violation cases; 20 men, 10 women, age range from 15 to 50 years old. The respondents are affiliated with 15 different community based organizations of PLHIV. In addition to the documenting of cases, the Nepal Environmental Lawyers Association (NELA) has supported NAP+N to discuss the Nepal’s interim constitutions 2007 and human rights articles, as well as facilitate discussions around the broader context of human rights in Nepal.

Making the Law Work for the HIV Response

“Making the law work for the HIV response: A snapshot of selected laws that support or block universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support” is a compilation of some of the laws that can help create a legal envorinment which enable universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support (protective laws) or that can block such access for people living with HIV, sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men and people who use drugs (punitive laws). Corrections to the information are welcome and will be reflected in any future updates of the document.

Making the law work for the HIV response

The present document is a compilation of some of the laws that can help create a legal environment which enables universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support (i.e protective laws) or that can block such access for people living with HIV, sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men and people who use drugs (i.e. punitive laws). Corrections to the information herein are welcome and will be reflected in any future update of this document.

Available in English and French.

For more specific information on HIV and the law, go to the crminalisation scan website