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International News

WHO Director-General Calls for Greater Protection of the Rights of HIV-Positive People, and Those at High Risk

December 1, 2010

Despite progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, "intolerance on the part of health care workers is undermining global efforts to stop the spread of the AIDS virus, [WHO Director-General Margaret Chan] warned," in a statement prepared for World AIDS Day, CQ HealthBeat reports.

"All too often it is the negative attitudes and behaviors of health workers that make health services inaccessible and unacceptable to those people at greatest risk of HIV infection and in greatest need of prevention, treatment and care services," Chan said (Reichard, 11/30).

"The right to health is central to the HIV response, Chan said, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C. "People living with HIV should not only enjoy their right to health but also their right to access crucial social services such as education, employment, housing, social security and even asylum in some cases" (11/30).

"The failure to promote and protect human rights increases vulnerability and can drive HIV epidemics," Chan said in the statement. "On the eve of a new decade, we need to address laws, policies, and regulations that increase HIV vulnerability and risk, impede access to health services or infringe on human rights, particularly for vulnerable and most-at-risk populations," she added (11/30).

In related news, the Financial Times examines the efforts to promote HIV education among sex workers, intravenous drug users (IDUs), and men who have sex with men (MSM) in Asia, and the laws that hinder such efforts. "In some countries, laws drive sex workers and drug users so far underground that they become hard to reach. In others, unconnected legislation against trafficking and illegal migration are changing the dynamics of the sectors of society worst affected by AIDS," the newspaper writes. "UNAIDS estimates that 90 percent of countries in Asia have laws that obstruct the rights of those living with HIV," Financial Times writes (Johnston, 11/30).

VOA News reports on the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Eastern and Central Asia, where according to a recent UNAIDS report "the number of HIV-positive people has nearly tripled in the past decade." The article examines how injecting drug use is fueling the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region. It also notes how resistance to use prevention strategies targeting IDUs, such as harm reduction, may be to blame for the rise in new infections (Hennessy, 11/30).

Back to other news for December 2010

This information was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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