World AIDS Day
My health, my right
The right to health is the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as enshrined in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This includes the right of everyone, including people living with and affected by HIV, to the prevention and treatment of ill health, to make decisions about one’s own health and to be treated with respect and dignity and without discrimination.
Everyone, regardless of who they are or where they live, has a right to health, which is also dependent on adequate sanitation and housing, nutritious food, healthy working conditions and access to justice.
The right to health is supported by, and linked to, a wider set of rights. Without the conditions to ensure access to justice, the right to a clean environment, the right to be free from violence or the right to education, for example, we cannot fulfil our right to health.
Ending AIDS as a public health threat can only happen if these rights are placed at the centre of global health, so that quality health care is available and accessible for everyone and leaves no one behind.
This year’s World AIDS Day campaign will focus on the right to health.
In the lead-up to 1 December, the #myrighttohealth campaign will explore the challenges people around the world face in exercising their right to health.
The #myrighttohealth campaign will provide information about the right to health and what impact it has on people’s lives. It will also aim to increase the visibility around the need to achieve the full realization of the right to health by everyone, everywhere.
Almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals are linked in some way to health, so achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which include ending the AIDS epidemic, will depend heavily on ensuring the right to health.
Starting from 6 November, the campaign will offer a space for people to express their views on the right to health and what needs to be done to ensure that everyone can realize that right
- Too many people around the world are being denied their right to health.
- People living with HIV are particularly affected.
- The right to health is more than access to quality health services and medicines; it includes a range of important assurances, including:
- Being treated with respect and dignity, free from discrimination.
- Gender equality.
- Adequate sanitation and housing.
- Nutritious food.
- Health education.
- Healthy working conditions.
- A clean environment.
- Freedom from harm and access to justice.
- Being able to make decision about one’s own health.
- Without their right to health, people cannot effectively prevent HIV or gain access to treatment and care.
- The people most affected by HIV are often the most marginalized in society, including sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, prisoners, migrants, etc.
- They are also the most frequently denied their right to health.
- People living with HIV are denied their right to health:
- When they are denied access to health services because of their age, gender, sexual orientation or HIV status.
- When they are denied access to harm reduction services.
- When they don’t carry condoms for fear of criminalization.
- When they don’t know their HIV status for fear of stigma and discrimination.
- To ensure the right to health, a human rights-based health system is needed, which includes four key elements:
- Access: health care must be affordable or free and comprehensive for everyone.
- Availability: there must be adequate health-care infrastructure and staff.
- Acceptability: health-care services must be respectful, non-discriminatory, culturally appropriate and treat everyone with dignity.
- Quality: all health care must be medically appropriate and of good quality.
- States should adhere to the following basic human rights obligations:
- Respect: refrain from interfering with a person’s ability to fulfil their right to health.
- Protect: act to prevent third parties from interfering with a person’s ability to fulfil their right to health.
- Fulfil: adopt appropriate legislative, administrative, budgetary, judicial, promotional and other measures to enable everyone to fully realize their right to health and put measures in place to actively inform and promote the fulfilment of the right to health.
- Almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals are linked some way to health.
- Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending AIDS as a public health threat, will depend heavily on ensuring the right to health for all.
- Only by placing rights at the centre of global health can quality health care be available and accessible for everyone, leaving no one behind.