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HIV Testing and Human Rights: Resources and Fact Sheets
Date:
January 2011

Source:
Open Society Foundations
Voluntary and confidential HIV testing is a cornerstone of the fight against AIDS. In order to truly be effective, efforts to scale up HIV testing must also respect and protect human rights. Testing should always be done in connection with programs that provide people who test positive with treatment, care, and support. Governments, health care providers, and program implementers should create a positive environment that protects people who are HIV positive from stigma, discrimination, and other negative consequences.
However, in a growing number of countries, pregnant women are routinely tested for HIV without their explicit consent, couples are required to take HIV tests before being allowed to marry, and prisoners, people who use drugs, and sex workers are forced by law enforcement to submit to HIV tests.
Mandatory HIV testing is taking place largely without any assessment of the human rights implications. To address these trends, the Open Society Foundations are supporting researchers and civil society advocates to examine and document the impact of HIV testing policies and practices, and to advocate for methods that respect human rights and improve health outcomes.
The publications below look at UNAIDS and WHO guidance on HIV testing, as well as local and international laws, and provide information on the impact of HIV testing policies on women and marginalized groups.
HIV Testing and Human Rights
HIV Testing of Pregnant Women and Couples
Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV Prevention
Related Information
Increasing Access to HIV Testing and Counseling While Respecting Human Rights
August 2007
This paper, published by the Open Society Public Health Program, shows that HIV testing can and should be expanded without disregard for human rights.
HIV Testing During Pregnancy
July 2008
This background paper prepared for the Open Society Foundations reviews the extent to which HIV testing approaches in 19 countries consider the safety and human rights of pregnant women.
Mandatory Premarital HIV Testing: An Overview
May 2010
A growing number of governments and religious communities require HIV tests before allowing couples to marry. This booklet examines how mandatory premarital HIV tests infringe on the human rights of people living with HIV and are out of line with public health guidelines.
Women and HIV Testing: Policies, Practices, and the Impact on Health and Human Rights
July 2008
This Open Society Foundations fact sheet provides information on HIV testing policies and examines their impact on women's health and human rights.
Civil Society Statement on ART as Prevention
November 2009
Hundreds of human rights and HIV/AIDS organizations worldwide signed on to this joint statement in response to a WHO proposal to scale up antiretroviral treatment in order to stem the spread of HIV.
Global Civil Society Forum on Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV Prevention
October 2009
This meeting report documents a civil society forum convened by the Open Society Foundations to discuss proposals to scale up antiretroviral treatment in order to prevent the transmission of HIV.
African Civil Society Raises Concerns Over “Test and Treat” Model for HIV Elimination
April 2009
Representatives of 30 human rights and AIDS organizations met in Johannesburg to discuss a new HIV prevention model that could lead to coerced testing and human rights violations.
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