Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
HRW To Call on XVI International AIDS Conference To Take Firm Action on Human Rights Violations Against HIV-Positive People
Human Rights Watch at the XVI International AIDS Conference, to be held Aug. 13 through Aug. 18 in Toronto, plans to advocate for "concrete action" by government officials in tackling the main causes of the spread of HIV, including the inequality of women and discrimination against men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers and injection drug users, the group said at a news conference in Toronto on Monday, the Toronto Star reports. Some countries that previously had made progress in fighting their HIV/AIDS epidemics have regressed because of human rights breaches, the group said (Daly, Toronto Star, 7/18). HRW will call on conference delegates, especially officials from the United Nations and the World Health Organization, to set sensible targets for fighting the pandemic and to stop human rights violations against HIV-positive people, according to the CP/Globe and Mail. "Twenty-five years into the epidemic, people living with HIV or AIDS are still feared and stigmatized," Joe Amon, HRW's director of HIV/AIDS, said in a statement. He added, "We can't defeat AIDS unless we end outrageous abuses against activists, outreach workers, people living with AIDS and those most vulnerable to infection." Amon cited examples of policies that are increasing the spread of HIV, such as Ukraine's policy to shut down or restrict needle-exchange and methadone programs for IDUs (Ubelacker, CP/Globe and Mail, 7/18). HRW also cited evangelicals as hindrances to tackling the pandemic because of their efforts to curb condom use in Uganda. The group also cited as an obstacle the displacement last year of 700,000 people in Zimbabwe, which interrupted treatment for thousands of HIV-positive people. HIV-positive people and HIV/AIDS advocates around the world also have been subject to murder, assault and arrest, Amon said (Toronto Star, 7/18).
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