What are Human Rights?

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that are essential for a person to live a normal and healthy life and are essential for world peace and justice. Some basic rights include the right to life, freedom of movement and travel, personal safety, work, education, access to healthcare, and justice, among others.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is the act of treating a person in a way different from others that restricts his/her individual rights on the basis of nationality, skin color, religion, wealth, language, social status or other defining characteristic. It can also be on the basis of a person’s health status, including their HIV+ status.

Does a Person Living with HIV have a right to privacy?

Every human has the right to protection from invasion of privacy, including their right to keep their health status unrevealed.  For this reason HIV testing is done on a voluntary basis and results kept strictly confidential.

Is it necessary to restrict the rights of People Living with HIV for the safety of the public ?

At times it is necessary to restrict the rights of individuals who suffer from certain contagious illnesses for the health safety of the public.  However this is NOT applicable for HIV as it is not contagious or transmitted in a way that presents a threat to the public.

What is the relationship between human rights and prevention of HIV ?

Many people avoid interaction with People Living with HIV due to the stigma and discrimination towards them, which in turn causes PLHIV to be unable to exercise their rights.  This injustice doesn’t only affect People Living with HIV however; it also makes people unwilling to be tested for HIV or use prevention services or obtain knowledge or change risky behaviors which make them more at risk of infection.

What is the link between the right to health, HIV and AIDS?

Every individual has the right to access affordable quality health services.  Included in this is the right to voluntary counseling and testing for HIV and reproductive health services. PLHIV have the right to these services as well as needed treatment services for HIV.

Do People Living with HIV have the right to freedom of movement?

Every individual has the right to move and migrate freely, including PLHIV.  Therefore confining PLHIV or placing restrictions on their travel or residency into / from a country is an infringement upon this right.

What is the right to information about HIV and AIDS?

Every individual has the right to access correct information about HIV and the modes of transmission and prevention and risk-reduction methods as this helps them to protect themselves. In addition, it is every person’s right to access information about sexual and reproductive health.

Does a Person Living with HIV have the right to work?

Yes. HIV is not contagious or easily spread and thus PLHIV have the right to obtain work.  In addition, employers do not have the right to dismiss a person Living with HIV on the basis of their HIV status and they also do not have the right to request a person to be tested for HIV as a prerequisite for work.

What is the right to personal safety?

Every person has the right to safety from cruel treatment, physical violence or random arrest.  Often due to people’s fear of HIV and AIDS or lack of knowledge on the modes of transmission, people living with HIV and high-risk populations are subjected to this violation of their safety which leads to their further marginalization within society.