The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNAIDS have issued updated guidelines on HIV/AIDS and human rights to reflect significant political and legal developments relating to HIV/AIDS.
The key change pertains to an update on Guideline 6, access to prevention, treatment, care and support, which is based on the following premises:
- Access to HIV/AIDS-related treatment is fundamental to the realization of the right to health.
- Prevention, treatment, care and support are a continuum.
- Access to medication is one element of comprehensive treatment, care and support.
- International cooperation is vital in realizing equitable access to care, treatment and support to all in need.
The revised Guideline 6 is one of 12 international guidelines on HIV/AIDS and human rights published in 1998 by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNAIDS.
"With the advent of life-prolonging HIV treatment and price barriers falling, access to treatment is now at the heart of realizing the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS," said UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot. "The new Guideline 6 will help governments and civil society focus on the need to scale up access to prevention and treatment. Today's unequal and limited access to treatment is unacceptable, with less than 5 percent of people in the developing world who need HIV medicines having access to them."
The revised guideline breaks new ground by calling on governments to:
- Establish concrete national plans on HIV/AIDS-related treatment, with resources and timelines that progressively lead to equal and universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support.
- Ensure that vulnerable populations have access to treatment, care and support.
- Establish mechanisms that would enable people living with HIV/AIDS to challenge inequalities and discrimination in accessing HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support.
- Ensure quality control and assurance of medicines, diagnostic and related technologies, and strengthen international cooperation and assistance to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support through contributions.
The International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights are online at www.unaids.org.
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