WAD 2010 press release World AIDS Campaign
Nov 30th, 2010 - 17:28:13
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World AIDS Day 2010: Rates of new HIV infections are slowing, but what now?
Scores of cities and communities all over the world will dim the lights this
December 1st to mark World AIDS Day as part of the Light for Rights campaign
which focuses on human rights, HIV and AIDS. Significant progress has been
made in advancing access to HIV prevention, treatment, support and care over
the past ten years, but putting human rights approaches at the centre of the
response is crucial to further progress. The 2010 Global Update on the AIDS
Epidemic by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows
that in 2009 the pace of new infections had declined by almost 20% compared
to 1999, but still outpaces treatment success by two to one. There are still
major gaps in the implementation of human rights commitments at national and
regional levels according to the report. For many people living with HIV
and the people most affected by it human rights can help to guarantee
access to health services, work, education and community participation.
Failure to protect the rights of sex workers, women, young people, people
who use drugs or those in same sex relations significantly hampers our
efforts to meet public health goals, says Marcel van Soest, Executive
Director of the World AIDS Campaign. Where human rights are officially
recognised as a priority and protected, people living with HIV and key
populations are accessing necessary treatment, prevention, support and care
If young people see that HIV is stigmatised in their country they are less
likely to get tested, educate themselves about prevention or seek
treatment, says Reshma Pattni, Program Director for the Global Youth
Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Though governments are making cuts for economic
reasons, ensuring access to prevention, treatment, care and support services
is important for a healthy young work force."
The UNAIDS report tells us that HIV related travel restrictions,
criminalization of same sex relations, and antiquated drug policies are
creating obstacles to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care
and support. A number of countries -including the USA and China have
rolled back their HIV related travel restrictions but similar restrictions
continue in 51 countries. 79 countries and territories still criminalize
same sex sexual relations, with a staggering six countries retaining the
possibility of applying the death penalty in such cases. More than 100
countries criminalize some aspect of sex work1.
Promoting universal access requires an emphasis on women and girls.
HIV-related programmes addressing women and girls are still notably lacking
in a great many countries. commented Mabel Bianco, President of FEIM and
Coordinator of International Women's AIDS Caucus.
"People living with HIV have a right to the highest attainable standard of
health," says Rachel Ong, Chair of the Global Network of People Living with
HIV (GNP+). "Guaranteeing this right and especially ensuring Universal
Access to treatment, care, prevention and support for People living with HIV
is a core component of any commitment in the response to HIV."
In China campaigners have faced human rights violations for voicing their
concerns. Tian Xi, a young man who was infected with HIV through a blood
transfusion, has been detained following his calls for compensation for
himself and others. Such treatment of campaigners not only discourages
efforts to raise awareness or to speak out, but is ultimately self-defeating
insofar as it hampers efforts to reduce transmission and arrest
Prioritising the rights people need to avoid exposure to infection,
enabling people living with HIV to live with respect and dignity and
protecting the rights of those who are marginalized or vulnerable is really
what we're talking about when we mention human rights approaches, says
Allyson Leacock, chair of the World AIDS Campaign's Global Steering
Committee, raising rights awareness among key populations such as women,
youth, people who use drugs is essential to the future of the HIV
Further information for editors:
World AIDS Day International Event Calendar:
Official World AIDS Day Materials for 2010:
For the most recent comprehensive statistics on HIV and AIDS, see theAIDS
Epidemic Update 2009, published by UNAIDS:
Light for Rights Official website http://www.lightforrights.org
The World AIDS Campaign's goal is to ensure that governments and policy
makers meet the HIV targets they set, the commitments they made, and
mobilise the necessary resources for a world where people do not die of AIDS
and opportunistic infections like TB. At the heart of the global commitment
is the publicly stated ambition of Universal Access by 2010 enabling
everyone to have non-discriminatory and non-judgmental access to adequate
HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
The World AIDS Campaign, with support of its Global Steering Committee
networks, selects the international theme for World AIDS Day each year.
Universal Access and Human Rights is the theme for the 2010 World AIDS
For the history of World AIDS Day and a background on the theme:
For more information or for interviews with people directly affected by HIV
and AIDS, contact the World AIDS Campaign at media (at) worldaidscampaign.org,
+31 20 616 9045 (Netherlands) or + 27 21 487 3010 (South Africa).
Additional contact information:
Royston Martin, Head of Communications and Media + 27 832928534;
Marcel van Soest, Executive Director + 31 65 361 4198;
Claudia Ahumada, Constituencies Programme Manager + 1 514 544 1208;
Ms Rukia Cornelius, Organisation Manager, +27 79 896 0401;
Denis Burke, Producer Media and Communications +31 630623067
Marcel van Soest
Keep the Light on HIV and
Human Rights this World AIDS Day
Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS, a program of TakingITGlobal
reshma (at) gyca.org
540 President St, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11215
GYCA is a youth-led global network of more than 4,500 young leaders and
adult allies working on youth and HIV and AIDS in 150 countries worldwide.
GYCA's mission is to empower young leaders with the skills, knowledge,
resources and opportunities they need to scale up HIV and AIDS interventions
amongst their peers.