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Linking HIV and Reproductive Rights

The Center Spotlights Reproductive Rights at the XVII International AIDS Conference

Human rights, including reproductive rights, must be at the center of the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Center for Reproductive Rights will be taking that message to the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City on August 1 – 8. The conference is the world’s largest HIV/AIDS forum and will address the trends and challenges surrounding HIV/AIDS.
Women living with HIV frequently suffer violations of their reproductive rights: they are excluded from health-care services, sterilized without their consent, denied abortions they want, or forced to have abortions they do not want. These abuses have been largely absent from the HIV/AIDS agenda.
The Center, the recognized leader in using international law and legal mechanisms to advance reproductive freedom, is organizing a number of events at the conference to raise awareness of these intersections between HIV/AIDS and reproductive rights:
• “Partnerships and Strategies for Holding Governments Accountable for Reproductive Rights Violations of People Living with HIV/AIDS” (Panel): This panel will address coercive sterilization of HIV-positive women in Chile, the denial of reproductive healthcare services to HIV-positive women in Kenya, and strategies to make governments accountable for the violations of reproductive rights of women living with HIV/AIDS. The panel is organized by the Center, Vivo Positivo and the ATHENA Network.
• “Practice Not Theory: Using International Human Rights Mechanisms to Protect Women at Risk or Living with HIV/AIDS” (Dialogue): This event, organized by the Center and Human Rights Watch, will present case studies to generate discussion on how to best use international human rights mechanisms to protect the rights of women at risk or living with HIV/AIDS.
• “HIV/AIDS and Human Rights”: Lecture by Anand Grover, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health
This will be the first opportunity for civil society groups to engage with the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health. The event is organized by the Center, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico, and Human Rights Watch.
Lilian Sepúlveda, the Center’s regional manager for Latin America, and Ximena Andión, the international advocacy director, will participate in these events. The Center has worked in over 50 countries on cases, fact-finding reports, legal publications and law reform efforts on issues such as access to essential obstetrics care, contraception, assisted reproductive technologies, and abortion; coercive sterilization; child marriage; comprehensive sexuality education; and the right to information.
Some 20,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS, health professionals, governments, civil society organizations and funders, among others, are expected to attend the XVII International AIDS Conference, the first one to be held in Latin America.