Human Rights and the HIV Response - Eastern and Southern Africa Region

 Human Rights and the HIV Response -  Eastern and Southern Africa

A rapid assessment of human rights violations in the context of HIV, in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, and a review of current approaches to protecting and promoting human rights for an effective HIV response.

Key populations, specifically people who sell sex (PWSS), people who inject drugs (PWID) and lesbian, and gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people experience significant human rights violations which underpin the continued high HIV incidence in these populations.

Even in the generalised epidemics in southern and eastern Africa key populations remain particularly vulnerable: only in sub-Saharan Africa do studies show HIV-prevalence amongst female sex workers higher than 50%; in Tanzania despite a declining HIV-prevalence in the general population (currently 5.6%), amongst PWID HIV-prevalence remains sustained and high at 35%; and men who have sex with men (MSM) in Africa are estimated to be 3.8 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population. This sustained and high burden of HIV is intimately linked to the denial of these key populations’ human rights.

This rapid assessment of human rights violations in Eastern and southern Africa focuses on three priority key populations

– PWSS, LGBTI (including MSM), and PWID. The report outlines the normative international treaties that establish a basis for a human rights framework for the HIV response.

This requires a focus on the legislative environment and the development of programmatic responses to ensure populations are able to realise their right to health. As will be evident, despite commitments internationally by states to the realisation of rights of all people, these are not translated into national policies and programmes. This report explores the emerging evidence of how to promote and protect human rights of key populations and potential key entry points. 

About HEARD

HEARD is a leading applied research centre with a global reputation and through its research, education programmes, technical services, partnerships and networks, leads the dialogue in addressing the broad health challenges of Africa.

Our aim is to shape public health policy and practice to address health inequalities in Africa by catalysing, conducting and disseminating innovative research on the socio-economic aspects of public health, especially the African HIV and AIDS pandemic.

For more about HEARD, refer to www.heard.org.za

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