Table 2: HIV, AIDS and Freedom from Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment,
including in prison

Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • Outreach workers conducting HIV prevention with MSM are detained and beaten by police.
  • An activist is detained and tortured for exposing State complicity in a HIV blood scandal.
  • Prisoners are denied HIV-related information, education, means of prevention (e.g., condoms, sterile injection equipment, and bleach) and HIV testing/treatment.
  • Authorities fail to take steps to prosecute or prevent prison rape.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
ICCPR 7: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation. HRC: expressing concern about the “high incidence of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis among detainees in facilities of the State party. . . along with absence of specialized care for pre-trial detainees” in Ukraine. The Committee recommended that Ukraine relieve prison overcrowding, provide hygienic facilities, assure access to health care and adequate food and reduce the prison population, including by using alternative sanctions. CCPR/C/UKR/CO (2006).
Human Rights Standards Case Law
ECHR 3: No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. ECtHR: finding failure to provide a prisoner with timely and appropriate AIDS and TB treatment to constitute a violation of the right to freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. Yakovenko v. Ukraine, 15825/06 (October 25, 2007).ECtHR: The applicant applied for and was refused asylum in the U.K. Her claim under Art. 3 was based on her medical condition (HIV/AIDs) and the lack of sufficient treatment in her home country. The Court found that the deterioration that she would suffer involved a certain degree of speculation and that it did not involve exceptional circumstances. Therefore, the Court found no violation of Art. 3. N. v. The United Kingdom, 26565/05 (May 27, 2008).

Other Interpretations 

Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1955)

Principle 22(2): Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.

Principle 24: The medical officer shall see and examine every prisoner as soon as possible after his admission and thereafter as necessary, with a view particularly to the discovery of physical or mental illness and the taking of all necessary measures; the segregation of prisoners suspected of infectious or contagious conditions; the noting of physical or mental defects which might hamper rehabilitation, and the determination of the physical capacity of every prisoner for work.