HIV and Human Rights |

People with HIV, tuberculosis and malaria talk about their experiences and the connection between human rights and HIV work.

Our friends at Action Against AIDS conducted three interviews to discuss the connections between human rights and HIV work. The videos, embedded below, highlight the needs of people who are all too often marginalized and emphasize the need to focus on human rights principles. The interviewees share their concerns if we loose focus and start to chip away the gains we have made.

Maurine Murenga, a HIV-positive mother from Kenya, and GFAN Speaker, explains the importance of access to medicines for the treatment and prevention of HIV and malaria.

It was Jonathan Mann, who in 1987, as the then head of the WHO AIDS Programme, placed respect for human rights at the heart of global HIV responses: Mann was convinced that without an end to stigma and discrimination, without respect for human rights, the AIDS epidemic could not be overcome. The logical conclusion is that human rights should therefore be placed at the heart of all HIV-related strategies.

GFAN Speaker, Anton Basenko from Ukraine, talks about the realities of people using drugs and what difference it makes when substitution programmes are offered.

This approach was revolutionary at the time, it was never uncontroversial and even today, seen globally, it is still rather a utopian postulate than a description of reality. Even today, many are still excluded from access to care systems, as our interviews show.  This is another reason why it is good that the Global Fund and UNAIDS focus their work on human rights principles.

Recent developments, which are often discussed under the heading “shrinking space” of civil society and globally uninhibited populism, are increasingly questioning arguments based on human rights. What has been perceived as irrefutable for many long years must be defended today. All the more so since a discussion focused solely on “Universal Health Coverage” may cause the achievements of HIV work to fall into oblivion.

Jeffry Acaba talks about the lived reality of gay and other LGBTI communities in South Asia and the deadly effects of the drug war in the Philippines.

All three interviews are available here:

Thank you to Peter Wiessner at Action Against AIDS for sharing these interviews and allowing us to to post them here. For more information you can reach Peter here:

Action Against AIDS thanks Maurine Murenga from Kenya, Jeffry Acaba from the Philippines and Anton Basenko from the Ukraine for the interviews.

The interviews were recorded in September 2019 shortly before the event “Zusammen für den Gloablen Fond” (Together for the Global Fund), which was conducted with cooperation partners of German civil society and to which the three interview partners were invited.