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AIDS, gender and human rights

With the right care, people with HIV can live long and fully productive lives. Yet the gulf between science and practice remains, and more women than ever have HIV. openDemocracy 50.50 explores the ways in which global policies ignore the gender dimensions of this pandemic, and the impact this has on women's human rights.

Rhetoric meets reality: ending HIV and AIDS

Ending AIDS by 2030 is redundant rhetoric. It is meaningless without investment in community participation. Code red for action.

The diary of an AIDS activist: lost to temper and hungry for hope

“The real reason we haven’t beaten this epidemic boils down to one simple fact: we value some lives more than others”  -  Charlize Theron, speaking at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban.

Crosstalk: HIV and linking across areas of criminalisation

In a moment of global attacks on civil society, an intersectional approach linking issues across HIV, sexuality, adult consensual sex and bodily integrity is critical.  Now, more than ever.

Tanzanian pastoralist women: HIV and health rights

Vertical health service provision alone will not solve the gender-based violence and HIV challenges facing pastoralist women in Tanzania. More holistic, rights-based policies are required.

HIV, AIDS and holistic healthcare: can spirituality and science meet?

The theme of next week's World Aids Conference in Durban, South Africa is 'Access, Equity, Rights Now'. Will its debates offer the whole answer to those preventing - or living with - HIV?

Ending HIV: UN slogans vs the voices of civil society

Last week’s UN meeting exposed the deep divide about whether HIV responses should commit to respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights rather than blaming those who are most affected.

Ending HIV: ideology vs evidence at the UN

This week’s negotiations over the UN’s Political Declaration Ending AIDS are rife with circular debates, and sex, gender and sexuality are flashpoints of polarization. 

CSW: groundbreaking US support for sexual rights

With the 60th UN Commission on the Status of Women underway in New York, the decision by the US to support sexual and reproductive health and rights - at last - presents a real opportunity to move the agenda forward.

The confinement of Eve: resolving Ebola, Zika and HIV with women’s bodies?

There are parallels between three major newsworthy viruses, Ebola, HIV and Zika, in relation to the global public health response and persistent and often toxic gender stereotypes. Español

Welcome to our house: women living with HIV

The largest survey on women living with HIV, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, has revealed the stark truth about the gender-based violence and mental health challenges that positive women face.

Amnesty International: should sex work be decriminalized?

As Amnesty International meets to consider a resolution that calls for the decriminalization of sex work, those in favour argue it would be a step forward for the rights of sex workers.

Nobody Left Behind? The lives of indigenous women with HIV

HIV rates are driven by widespread global inequalities. What will it take to put the human rights of indigenous women living with HIV on the global map?

HIV and AIDS: language and the blame game

The negative and dehumanizing language used by scientists discussing global HIV policy is sapping the soul of those on the receiving end. The call for an alternative language of nature and nurture must be heard. 

AIDS targets: the fear factor

HIV is not just a health issue but a multi-sectoral issue that requires many different players. Is the UNAIDS HIV '90-90-90' fast-track initiative in Uganda achievable?

No experts, saviours or victims: women living with HIV

Beyond bio-medical models, recent research has enabled a better psycho-social understanding of how women can access HIV treatment, if they want to, in stressful daily conditions.

The sexual and reproductive health issue you’ve probably never heard of….

Why is one of the most common gynaecological conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, schistosomiasis, misunderstood, under-researched and under-reported?

"I am one of those foreigners": living with HIV in the UK

HIV is easily treatable with pills. But there are no pills for stigma. Stigma grows on the ignorance behind the statement by UKIP's leader Nigel Farage. There is no substance behind his words.

Women living with HIV: a matter of safety and respect

Last month the results of a global survey on women living with HIV were published. The survey was designed and conducted by women, and commissioned by the World Health Organisation. Will the findings be acted upon? 

HIV: witnessing the realisation of raw human rights

Fear of HIV disclosure and subsequent violent reactions are experienced globally. We know that rights-based approaches can create resilience and hope. So where is the political courage and will to make them happen?

Preventing HIV: the decriminalisation of sex work

A new bill, together with moves by some police departments in American cities to end the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution, has given hope to activists fighting to reduce the spread of HIV, secure human rights for sex workers, and to decriminalize sex work.

AIDS and adolescents: denying access to health

With a 50% increase in AIDS-related deaths among young people, AIDS is now the second leading cause of their deaths. At the conclusion of the AIDS 2014 Conference, Alice Welbourn is left wondering whether anything is going to change in the HIV world for young women - and their children.

Women who use drugs: resistance and resilience in the face of HIV

In 2011 the UN General Assembly resolved to halve the number of people who inject drugs being diagnosed with HIV. Silvia Petretti writes from her own experience, and asks why the needs and rights of women who use drugs are being overlooked at this year's International AIDS Conference

HIV, homophobia and historical regression: where next for Uganda?

President Yoweri Museveni was once globally admired for mobilising an HIV response in Uganda founded upon compassion and shared responsibility. So what happened? We need to look back in time in order to comprehend the devastating scale of Uganda’s backslide in HIV prevention, care and support

Uganda: the social impact of HIV criminal law

Criminalisation of HIV is unjust, unwise, undermines existing government efforts and is especially damaging to women’s rights, argues Hajjarah Nagadya

HIV disclosure: changing ourselves, changing others

When will policy makers, politicians and academics start to think upstream, in order to change their own and their employees’ attitudes towards HIV before seeking to change the attitudes of others?

Bio-insecurity and HIV/AIDS

Science and global funding of HIV prevention is seen as an investment in biosecurity, but unless prevention and treatment take place within the context of the local bio-insecurity of the poor woman and her family the AIDS epidemic can not be fully stemmed, argue Ida Susser and Zena Stein

HIV: a call for solidarity with the transgender community

With the prevalence of HIV 50 times higher than that of the general population, societal acceptance and family support are crucial to the emotional wellbeing and health outcomes of LGBT people. Cecila Chung tells her own story and calls for transgender sisterhood at the AIDS 2014 Conference

AIDS 2014 Conference: stepping up the pace and still on the wrong path

As the 20th International AIDS Conference opens in Melbourne this weekend, Alice Welbourn reflects on how global policies still fail to acknowledge the gender dimensions of this pandemic, or take into account the new broader medico-ethical debates which echo many of the concerns of women living with HIV.

AIDS 2014: Where are the women we need to step up the pace?

With scientific advances in controlling HIV we need a strong community-based response now more than ever to ensure that the stigma still surrounding HIV does not stop people from coming forward for testing, treatment and care. So where are the community delegates at the International AIDS conference ?

Indonesia: facing life with HIV

Strategies, no matter how well intentioned, are not enough without the knowledge, insights and experiences of people with HIV to translate them into effective and rights-based practice. Sindi Putri shares her own experience in Indonesia.

HIV: Violations or investments in women’s rights?

In the context of widespread sexual violence and its reciprocal links to HIV, Alice Welbourn reports on how the formal scientific evidence base alone is beginning to be recognized as not fit-for-purpose to safeguard women’s rights.

An end to AIDS?: Not through medication alone

In the world of HIV, the allure of the bio-medical techno-fix still attracts many policy makers. Meanwhile a parallel world of care, support, community spirit and women’s resilience still beats quietly. On World AIDS Day Alice Welbourn considers the future of the AIDS pandemic

Compulsion versus compassion: HIV treatment for women and children

Alice Welbourn and Louise Binder consider whether the new World Health Organisation treatment guidelines for women and children living with HIV may result in more abuse and harm

Women and the post-2015 agenda: are you on board the ark?

With the roller-coaster of the CSW just finished and the resignation of UNWomen Director Michelle Bachelet, the next year promises stormy seas ahead for setting the future agenda for women’s rights. Alice Welbourn sets out some priorities for civil society in relation to HIV, gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive rights.

Sex work, violence and HIV: experience from rural Karnataka

In the final days of the CSW meeting in New York, arguments over the language to be used in the Outcome Document are continuing, with some States refusing to acknowledge the existence of intimate partner violence in spite of widespread scientific evidence and testimony from victims of violence.  

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