Today is twenthieth anniversary of the first World AIDS Day, established to commemorate those who have died of the disease and marshal attention to address the epidemic. The World AIDS Campaign has declared “Lead-Empower-Deliver” to be the theme for this year.
For the last several years, AI has been zeroing in on the message that AIDS is a human rights issue. Human rights abuses place people at greater risk of contracting HIV, and, all too often, those living with HIV and AIDS are subjected to human rights abuses.
Check out Amnesty’s special web feature in honor of World AIDS Day.
Nowhere is the link between human rights abuses and HIV and AIDS clearer than in South Africa, where women, particularly those living in rural areas, face not only high HIV prevalence and high levels of sexual violence, but also widespread poverty. AI’s report, I am at the lowest end of all, draws on the stories of women who, having contracted HIV as a result of violence, must now overcome extreme poverty and disrcimination in order to obtain treatement.
Circling back to this year’s theme of leadership, Amnesty wants to know how governments measure up to our 10-point plan of action on HIV and AIDS and human rights. How is the U.S. doing? What changes would you like President-elect Obama to make to U.S. policy on HIV and AIDS when he takes office?