Publication Date
Publication Date: 
October 1, 2013

Highlighting findings from the July 2012 report HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, this series of fact sheets from the Open Society Foundations offers information and language that may be useful for advocacy, campaigning, and lobbying on the part of civil society groups, particularly those working with populations at high risk of HIV. The fact sheets include:

  1. HIV and the Law: Women Living with HIV [PDF] - Amongst the ideas for using the report: educate policymakers, the media, and the public about the harm of laws criminalising HIV exposure and transmission, as well as about how discriminatory laws relating to property and inheritance rights harm women.
  2. HIV and the Law: Transgender People [PDF] - One tip provided here relates to gathering evidence that transgender rights are a public health issue: "On page 52, the report mentioned a U.S. [United States]-based survey of over 6,000 transgender people that yielded important data. You can use this study as an example when talking to public health experts and academics in your region to see if any of them are interested in developing similar research projects in your area. The evidence collected through such research can become a powerful tool for generating the support needed to change laws and administrative practices. Community-Based Participatory Research is a methodology particularly well-suited to gathering information from, and collaborating effectively with, key populations to build an evidence base."
  3. HIV and the Law: Sex Workers [PDF] - The following item from the report, included in this factsheet, could be used by advocates: "Increasingly, sex workers are forming collectives or other sex worker-managed organizations to demand their rights, bring court challenges against police and employer abuses, and create their own HIV prevention initiatives. One such group in India collaborated with police to promote safer sex practices. As a result 'condom use among sex workers rose from 27 percent to 85 percent from 1992 to 2001, and HIV prevalence among sex workers fell from over 11 percent in 2001 to less than 4 percent by 2004' (page 42 [of the report])."
  4. HIV and the Law: People Who Use Drugs [PDF] - One idea is to call for seats at the table for people who use drugs and their allies by exploring "how the needs of people who use drugs are being represented in the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS planning process, and by whom. Before undertaking this, it is a good idea to review a copy of your country's plan carefully to see where and how it already addresses these needs. If the Ministry of Health is not receptive to your request for inclusion, sympathetic local Parliamentarians may support you in advancing this demand. National HIV and AIDS organizations that are already participating in such planning bodies can also be recruited as allies."
  5. HIV and the Law: People Living with HIV [PDF] - An action the report recommends: "Be held accountable by donors, civil society, and others for national human rights commitments. Non-governmental actors should also create, fund, and implement rights-based policies and initiatives to advance law reform and enforcement, including educational efforts to decrease stigma as it affect families, communities and workplaces."
  6. HIV and the Law: Men Who Have Sex with Men [PDF] - "One benefit of this report is that it simply and eloquently frames key arguments we make as we advocate for change in existing policies. These are listed below as sound bites that organizations can use in their own documents or when talking to the media. [For example:] 'To those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, let me say: You are not alone. Your struggle to end violence and discrimination is a shared struggle. Any attack on you is an attack on the universal values the United Nations and I have sworn to defend and uphold.' - Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General. Statement to the Human Rights Council, March 7, 2012"
  7. HIV and the Law: Access to Essential Medicines [PDF] - One idea for how to use the report: "Use the available evidence of challenges and successes to build awareness and mobilize advocates for access to medicines. Point to the chart on page 81 to show that compulsory licensing has been a successful strategy in several counties. The chart on page 83 shows the increase in the number of trade agreements containing IP [intellectual property] clauses in recent years."

As explained in these fact sheets, to provide information for this report, the Commission conducted an 18-month process of research, consultation, analysis, discussion, and decision-making. They held regional dialogues in 7 global regions and collected written and oral submissions from over 1,000 individuals and organisations, more than 700 of whom included people living with, or directly affected by HIV and AIDS.

Number of Pages: 

4-5