Table 8: HIV, AIDS and the Right to Marry and Found a Family

Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • State requires HIV testing or proof of HIV-negative status as a condition of marriage.
  • State forces woman living with HIV to undergo abortion or sterilization, rather than providing her with information and services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  • Women are denied equal rights in marriage, divorce, or within families, thus decreasing their ability to negotiate safer sex or leave relationships that pose a risk of HIV.
  • State denies migrants the right to be accompanied by family members, thus increasing risk of HIV through casual sex.
  • State denies asylum to HIV-positive claimant while granting asylum to his or her family.
  • State removes child from household solely because parent(s) have HIV/AIDS.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
CEDAW 16: States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations. CEDAW Committee: Recommending that Kenya “take appropriate action to eliminate all discriminatory laws, practices and traditions and ensure women’s equality with men particularly in marriage and divorce . . .” including through passage of HIV and AIDS legislation. Concluding Observations to Kenya, A/58/38 (2003).