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AIDS 2010: Law Reform in the Context of HIV: Are Human Rights Protected or Compromised?

AIDS 2010: Law Reform in the Context of HIV: Are Human Rights Protected or Compromised?

For more information on this session, including access to speaker presentations, please see the conference Programme-at-a-Glance.

It is widely recognised that human rights protections are key to an effective response to HIV and AIDS, and that law reform processes are imperative to secure human rights in the context of HIV. In reality, however, some policy and law reform processes appear to be determined more by public health needs, than by the need to secure human rights, and fail to address the underlying social and structural factors increasing prevailing HIV risks and vulnerabilities of most affected groups, such as women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, drug users and sex workers thus, perpetuating their marginalisation, human rights violations, and limited access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. To ensure that law reform furthers human rights protections in the context of the AIDS response, it seems essential to share and learn from past experiences of ‘successful’ law reform; to engage with crucial areas of law reform processes, such as women’s rights, harm reduction, decriminalisation of sex work, as well as same-sex relationships, and the criminalisation of HIV transmission; and to identify ways to effectively address the social and structural factors fuelling the pandemics. The purpose of this session is to assess whether or not law reform is an adequate tool that guarantees the protection of human rights in the HIV and AIDS response; to explore whether or not law reform has the potential to address underlying social and structural factors increasing HIV risks and vulnerabilities; to provoke discussion on the extent to which law reform processes can potentially threaten human rights protections; and to identify mechanisms of how to ensure that law reform is a tool to both secure human rights and respond to HIV and AIDS realities and needs.

Event Date

Jul 19, 2010