The Issues/Areas of Work

Stigma and Discrimination

The rights of people living with HIV often are violated because of their assumed or known HIV status, causing them to suffer both the burden of the disease and the consequential loss of other rights. Stigmatisation and discrimination may obstruct their access to treatment and may affect their employment, housing and other rights. This, in turn, contributes to the vulnerability of others to infection, since HIV-related stigma and discrimination discourages individuals infected with and affected by HIV from contacting health and social services. The result is that those most needing information, education and counselling will not benefit even where such services are available.

Sexual abuse / Trafficking

The nexus of the global epidemics of sex trafficking and HIV/AIDS primarily manifests in the lives of women and girls. This intersection exists in sex trafficking victims’ increased vulnerability to HIV infection, the proliferation of HIV infection through sex trafficking, and the perceived and actual clashes between HIV and sex trafficking prevention efforts. Holistically addressing these intersecting issues entails framing the elimination of sex trafficking as a tool to reduce HIV transmission.

Drugs & Alcohol

Drug abuse and addiction have been linked with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Although injection drug use is well known in this regard, the role that non-injection drug abuse plays in the spread of HIV is less recognised. This is partly due to the addictive and intoxicating effects of many drugs, which can alter judgement and inhibition and lead people to engage in impulsive and unsafe behaviour. Drug abuse and addiction can affect a person’s overall health, thereby altering susceptibility to HIV and progression of AIDS.

Gender & Poverty

Certain groups are more vulnerable to contracting the HIV virus because they are unable to realize their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Women, and particularly young women, are more vulnerable to infection if they lack of access to information, education and services necessary to ensure sexual and reproductive health and prevention of infection. The unequal status of women in the community also is a major cause for the spread of the disease. People living in poverty often are unable to access HIV care and treatment, including antiretrovirals and other medications for co- infections.