Cooperation between government and civil society is crucial in securing rights for people living with HIV, a UNDP- and IDLO-sponsored meeting was told. Held in Tbilisi, Georgia with support from the European Union, the International Dialogue brought together government and civil society representatives from eleven former Soviet states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia have continued to see a rise in HIV infections. An estimated 1.6 million people live with the virus. Between 2005 and 2012, the AIDS mortality rate climbed by more than a fifth. Levels of treatment are low: no more than a third of those in need of antiretroviral therapy are estimated to be receiving it. The rights of people with HIV are frequently breached in the region: violations range from denial of confidentiality to outright criminalization of the behavior of the populations most at risk.
“HIV is a matter of human rights,” Evgeniy Spevak of the Eurasian and Belarussian Union of People Living with HIV told the meeting. […] states have the obligation to undertake legal, financial and administrative measures to bring these rights as close as possible to the highest standards of health.”