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Coalition Asks
Governments to Readdress HIV Prevention

Coalition Asks
Governments to Readdress HIV Prevention

A coalition of HIV/AIDS and human rights organizations released a statement encouraging national governments to make human rights a central theme of the biannual International AIDS Conference.

A coalition of HIV/AIDS and human rights organizations released a statement encouraging national governments to make human rights a central theme of the biannual International AIDS Conference.

The world's largest gathering on HIV/AIDS opens in Mexico City on August 3, ending August 8.

"It is a tragic irony that those at highest risk of HIV often receive the least attention," said Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, in a press release issued by the collation on Tuesday.

"In many countries, drug users are the majority of people living with HIV but the smallest group receiving antiretroviral treatment. When they're arrested, they're even less likely to receive the HIV prevention and treatment services they need," Elliott added.

The coalition wants the conference to focus on the discrimination and stigma attached to transgender people, sex workers, men who have sex with men, and drug users, who are all considered at high risk for contracting HIV.

The HIV/AIDS and human rights organizations also highlighted the human rights abuses faced by women, who account for the majority of HIV infections in Africa.

It is hoped that governments will combat the epidemic by addressing laws that not only deny women equal access to divorce, property, and inheritance, but increase vulnerability to infection and hinder access to treatment.

This year's program includes a plenary address on human rights, a "human rights networking zone" in the conference's Global Village, and a rally on August 7 to highlight the need for a much greater focus on human rights in order to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. (The Advocate)

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