The Undiagnosed Network
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Public Health & Chronic Diseases
"HIV/AIDS is not merely a medical problem: the manner in which the virus is impacting upon society reveals the intricate way in which social, economic, cultural, political and legal factors act together to make certain sections of society more vulnerable. The epidemic exposes the method and the impact of marginalisation and inequality in clear terms.
Marginalised groups in our society have little or no access to basic fundamental and Human Rights such as food, medical services and information. Many of these groups are ostracised by society at large, and their lifestyles criminalized, making it practically impossible for them to participate in mainstream processes whereby they could demand their rights. Coupled with this dismal situation, there is minimal awareness about HIV and no real options for safer lifestyles. The stark reality of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is thus that people are becoming HIV positive because they have no access to basic fundamental Human Rights. For the same reasons, the impact of infection is a lot graver for those with no access to rights. It is time to recognise this link between marginalisation, Human Rights and vulnerability.
It is also time to recognize that the HIV/AIDS epidemic itself has given rise to a range of Human Rights violations. The refusal of treatment, denial of access to essential drugs including antiretroviral therapy, discrimination in the health care and employment sectors, women being deprived of their rights and thrown out of their homes etc are just some examples of these violations. Apart form having a serious impact on the lives of people living with HIV, these violations are pushing the epidemic underground. Unless these Human Rights violations are addressed, there cannot be the creation of an enabling environment, where people come forward to access health and other services, or even get tested.
There is also a need to understand the exact manner in which
factors of gender, caste, region, class, sexual orientation
influence the impact of these Human Rights issues for different
sections of society. Along with social and economic factors, there
are laws, which complicate the influence of these factors. To
understand these different contexts would be the first step in
addressing the problems they entail." Report of the National
Conference on Human Rights and HIV/AIDS
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