Health as a human right with HIV/AIDS

Health is a fundamental human right. Therefore, each individual, society as a whole, and the government share in the responsibility for providing equal access to healthcare for all. For the highest standard of health to be attained, this responsibility must truly be embraced. Investing to save lives should remain a global priority. If we desire health for all, then we should be aware that it requires both fighting specific diseases and supporting sustainable health care systems, while at the same time prioritizing primary care.

At the beginning of this century, it was generally assumed that treatment for HIV/AIDS in Africa was impossible.

But HIV/AIDS activists and medical professionals mobilized to change this assumption. Global and national agencies, as well as faith-based agencies invested in fighting HIV/AIDS. The battle is not yet won, but the end of HIV/AIDS is not the unthinkable goal it once was. This is disclosed in a recent UNAIDS report, which affirms a global synergy of actions in the struggle to save more lives from the AIDS epidemic.

Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic requires not only increasing HIV prevention and treatment services like antiretroviral treatment, but also protecting and promoting human rights within the medical and global health response. This should be done while simultaneously acknowledging the importance of human rights as a critical component of effective HIV/AIDS responses. The essential nature of access to justice for people living with HIV/AIDS and populations most affected by the virus is indispensable in the holistic approach to ending HIV/AIDS.

Charles Kwuelum

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