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HIV, Human Rights and Disability Inclusion

Submission to The Social Forum of the Human Rights Council on Human Rights, HIV and other communicable diseases and epidemics, October 2017

IDDC wishes to emphasise the importance of the Disability and HIV reference report published by UNAIDS in August 2017. This document notes a number of key points on human rights in this context. It notes that persons with disabilities have been excluded from all sectors of the HIV response. It states that men and women with disabilities are at approximately double the risk of HIV infection than others, and that in some cases are excluded from HIV services. They are more likely to experience sexual, physical, and emotional violence, and are more economically vulnerable. They face multiple risk factors as well as barriers in accessing services, and are less likely to benefit from sexuality education.

Further, the IDDC notes the following:

  • In this context it is noteworthy that HIV/AIDS may itself result in disabilities, including depression, and dementia. As a result, health and rehabilitation services should (a) recognise the additional stigma and exclusion faced by these people, and (b) seek comprehensive services that address disability appropriately.
  • Persons with disabilities, among key populations of geographical, social and other forms of disadvantage, must be provided with required support.
  • There is a need for action at high levels to address issues of human rights of persons with disabilities.
  • There is a pressing need for greater commitment to and accountability for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities and other vulnerable populations.
  • We must identify and address inter- and intra-agency gaps, such as the lack of data capturing, which adversely impacts on the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
  • There is an urgent need to enhance funding / financing systems, support and develop research initiatives, and strengthen management and leadership capacity of agencies which seek to represent and address human rights concerns in the context of disability (international and national, across private, civil society and public sectors).


Read IDDC submission to the Social Forum

Read the UNAIDS report Disability and HIV