10 December 2018 – Human Rights Day – 70 years ago today, the General Assembly of the UN adopted and proclaimed the Universal declaration of Human Rights. Health and human rights must always go hand in hand. People have a right to healthcare, and to be treated with dignity and respect when they access it. Yet, harmful laws, policies and practices, including discrimination and abuse too often prevent people from getting the care they need, and can cause serious mental and physical health harms. Marginalized populations are most likely to suffer abuses, and be exposed to harmful or degrading treatment and practices. Every health actor has a role to pay in speaking out for the right to health, and standing up to rights abuses whenever they occur.
Integrating fertility care and HIV treatment and prevention: how couples affected by HIV can achieve pregnancy safely
8 March 2017: By the end of 2015 there were approximately 36.7 million people living with HIV globally, up to half of whom have HIV-negative partners. HIV-serodiscordant couples – that is, people living with HIV who have HIV-negative partners – who would like to have children, are often inadequately supported by or face significant barriers to accessing existing sexual and reproductive health services.
Fertility screening and HIV treatment and prevention – to minimise HIV infection, whilst working towards achieving pregnancy safely – are crucial for all serodiscordant couples, regardless of whether or not they have fertility problems.
Women at the centre: WHO issues new guidance on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV
21 February 2017: A woman-centred approach to healthcare is one that consciously adopts the perspectives of women, their families and communities. This means that health services see women as active participants in, as well as beneficiaries of, trusted health systems that respond to women’s needs, rights and preferences in humane and holistic ways. Such an approach to healthcare is crucial when working to safeguard the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV. In 2015, there were an estimated 17.8 million women aged 15 and older living with HIV in 2015, constituting 51 percent of all adults living with HIV.
10 December 2016: The theme for this year’s Human Rights Day is “Stand up for Someone’s Rights Today”. The first step in doing this is to make visible, through numbers and stories, those that are more vulnerable, discriminated against and marginalized. This requires the ability to measure and monitor how inequalities based on gender as well as ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, or gender identity affect access to health services and health outcomes. To address this, it is an appropriate day for WHO to release a new tool for strengthening gender-sensitive national HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) monitoring and evaluation systems.
11 October 2016: The theme of this year’s International Day of the Girl is based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and central to the achievement of all of these goals is gender equity. Building equitable gender norms will enable girls to grow and develop to their full potential. This is an important goal in itself and also contributes to achieving other goals.
Too often, however, early adolescence is a period of increased expectation for girls and boys to adhere to stereotypical norms and it is these norms that help to perpetuate gender inequality. A recent review of existing research reveals that young adolescents commonly express stereotypical or inequitable gender attitudes. These inequitable attitudes contribute to harmful behaviours and related poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes.
10 December 2015. Human Rights Day ¦ Women living with HIV can achieve safe and satisfying sexual lives, but there is still much to do for this to be a reality for the most vulnerable who face repeated violations of their rights. Antiretroviral treatment, together with advances in overcoming stigma and discrimination, and the development of HIV prevention interventions have all given hope and a chance at a healthy life for many around the world. For those who remain the most vulnerable, however, there is not nearly enough progress. Many women and girls living with HIV remain vulnerable due to a host of biological, social, cultural and economic reasons, including women’s continued social and economic inequality.
29 September 2015 - Recognising that violence and discrimination present a significant barrier to health and health services, including for HIV and other STIs, this joint inter-agency statement calls on governments, parliaments, judiciaries, national human rights institutions, community, religious, political leaders, workers’ organizations, the private sector, health providers, civil society organizations and the media to stand up to discrimination in all its forms, in line with the mandate of the UN. The statement calls for specific measures to be taken to protect individuals against discrimination and violence and for an end to discriminatory laws in line with international human rights standards.