Example 7: Now More than Ever Campaign

Example 7: Now More than Ever Campaign 

Project Type: Advocacy

Human Rights and HIV: Now More Than Ever
Website:  http://www.hivhumanrightsnow.org/

The Organization 

The Now More than Ever Campaign represents hundreds of AIDS activists worldwide who believe that human rights should at the center of the response to HIV. It is their belief that if governments and organizations base their efforts upon human rights, the response will be more inclusive and effective.

“That virus is just as smart at exploiting social weakness as it is at exploiting the weaknesses of the immune system.” Jonathan Cohen, Deputy Director, Open Society Public Health Program

The Problem

Those most affected by HIV are often those who are marginalized by society. They include women and girls, children, people who use drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender persons, prisoners, people needing palliative care, and others whose voices are rarely heard. The Now More Than Ever Campaign places particular emphasis on protecting members of these marginalized groups and believes that a human rights-based approach is necessary to the global response.

Actions Taken

The campaign developed a joint statement on 10 reasons why human rights should occupy the center of the global HIV response. Since first publishing the joint statement, the Campaign has organized and led events at each successive International AIDS Conference. Information related to those events may be found at www.hivhumanrightsnow.org/about-us/#overview.

Results and Lessons Learned

Over 650 organizations and networks worldwide have endorsed the joint statement, which is also supported by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Additionally, tens of thousands of people participated in the campaign’s protest march and rally for human rights in Vienna at the 2010 International AIDS Conference to call for human rights for all in the face of HIV—often expressing opinions that they could not legally express in their home country.

The Now More Than Ever Campaign brings together thousands of AIDS activists worldwide who believe that human rights should be at the center of the response to HIV. The campaign offers them a unique platform aimed at ensuring that governments move from rhetoric to real action on HIV and human rights, including by investing in key human rights initiatives as part of national HIV programs.

Human Rights and HIV:  Now More Than Ever

Ten Reasons Why Human Rights Should Occupy  the Center of the Global AIDS Struggle

  1. Universal access will never be achieved without human rights;
  2. Gender inequality makes women more vulnerable to HIV, most women and girls now have the highest rates of infection in heavily affected countries;
  3. The rights and needs of children and young people are largely ignored in the response to HIV, even though they are the hardest-hit in many places;
  4. The worst-affected receive the least attention in national responses to HIV;
  5. Effective HIV-prevention, treatment, and care programs are under attack;
  6. AIDS activists risk their safety by demanding that governments provide greater access to HIV and AIDS services;
  7. The protection of human rights is the way to protect the public’s health;
  8. AIDS poses unique challenges and requires an exception response;
  9. Rights-based” responses to HIV are practical, and they work;
  10. Despite much rhetoric, real action on HIV/AIDS and human rights remains lacking.

Twenty-four HIV/AIDS and human rights organizations worldwide jointly developed the declaration, and hundreds of other organizations endorsed it. The declaration is also available in Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish.