Beginning in the 1980s, the virus known as HIV began to rapidly affect those throughout the world, most commonly observed then in homosexuals, hemophiliacs, heroin users and those of Haitian decent. Since then, numerous organizations have pushed towards finding ways to effectively treat and prevent HIV and AIDS while balancing the need for progress with individual autonomy.
As the threat of HIV/AIDS rapidly expanded throughout the globe, many scientists and researchers sought for effective approaches to further treat the virus. Prevention methods such as travel bans, quarantine, and compulsory testing were implemented by governments in attempt to reduce the expansion, which lead to the infringement of basic human rights. Dr. Jonathan Mann, former director of the WHO’s Global Programme on AIDS, was an important factor in repositioning the HIV/AIDS methodology towards a more human rights-based approach (Gruskin). Dr. Mann worked to make human rights the central focus of WHO’s HIV prevention strategy and “found support among transnational networks of non-governmental advocates and the UN human rights officers” (Meier). Another advocate for human rights within the context of AIDS policy was Dr. Peter Piot, who offered to “view AIDS in the context of social and economic development as well as security” (“Peter Piot Biography”). Dr. Piot is the UNAIDS Executive Director with academic background in AIDS in the developing world giving him the right knowledge to continue advocating human rights in AIDS policy.
Individuals as well as a collection of organizations have all played a crucial role in responding to the growing HIV/AIDS pandemic. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, guided by WHO’S Vaccine Advisory Committee is committed to provide vaccines for those living with HIV/AIDS. This was implemented in an effort to protect those affected by HIV/AIDS from pneumococcal disease and antibiotic-resistant diseases. Another organization, The US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, partnered with WHO in 2008 to identify a strategic framework regarding HIV/AIDS prevention. While PEPFAR is one of the largest international HIV initiatives, WHO provides leadership and technical support which in turn, provides for an overall significant global influence (“US Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief”).
Along with activist and organizational partnerships that cooperate with the World Health Organization, many treaties and guidelines have been developed to allow a human rights-based approach. An important treaty would be the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which, “provides for rights such as equality, privacy and dignity” (“Human Rights and HIV”) including those affected by HIV/AIDS. The Office of the High Commissioner has also played a role in the focus on human rights regarding those affected by AIDS. Their International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights was designed to help improve effective governmental HIV/AIDS laws and policies (OHCHR).
Many factors accompany WHO to provide support towards the reduction of HIV/AIDS. Agents such as activists, organizational partnerships and treaties have all helped The World Health Organization in its anti-AIDS effort. Although certain government reluctance and financial burdens have reduced the maximum potential in AIDS relief, WHO has protected human rights as well as save countless lives through its mission.