What We’re Reading: In HIV and TB treatment, science supports human rights

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The science is clear, HIV criminalization is abusive, discriminatory and counterproductive – The  destructiveness of HIV-specific laws that fueled stigma and discouraged diagnosis by criminalizing people living with the virus for not disclosing their status, for spitting, and for other supposed means of exposure or transmission was always apparent. For some time now, this International AIDS Society blog post by IAS past president Dr. Chris Beyrer notes, science has stripped the last pretense of purpose for the laws, including by showing that an undetectable virus is not transmitted. The piece comes with a helpful timeline.

Anchored in human rights — Instead of surveillance technologies, help TB patients by providing rights-based interventions – Access to the newest, most effective and least toxic medicines, along with the social support structure needed to complete treatment regimens would be a more efficient way to end the global public threat of tuberculosis than intensified tracking  of patient adherence aided by invasive technologies, this piece notes.

TAGline: Bringing Down the House on Intellectual Property and Access – Securing access to those medicine is the topic of this special issue of TAGline, exploring drug pricing and the intellectual property that is, in reality, public property.

Comment in response to “Public Charge” rule expansion –  Also from TAG, a breakdown of why expanding the definition of those considered “public charges” to people who receive access basic, essential public health services, is bad for all of us. When I started writing about why, in the age of antiretroviral treatment, South Florida had some of the highest rates of AIDS diagnoses in the country, obstacles between marginalized populations, including recent immigrants, and health services emerged as a consistent factor. Expansion of the already Dickensian-sounding “public charge” rule would worsen that situation.

TAC and two decades of activism – Against harrowing odds, and counting major victories in beating back the destructive force of HIV denialism in South Africa, the Treatment Action Campaign turns 20. Its leaders reflect that their work, and the need to fight for health and human rights is far from over.

PEPFAR extension act signed – In these troubled times, a bright spot, as commitment to a global response to a global public health threat is renewed.

HIV 2020 – But the fight to ensure that all voices are heard continues. When, after lifting its entry ban keeping people living with HIV from coming to America, the United States hosted AIDS 2012 — the first U.S.-hosted international AIDS conference  in more than two decades, policies barring entry to people who had used drugs or earned income through sex work remained in place. Sex worker activists responded then by launching an alternative “Freedom Festival,” in Kolkata. As San Francisco and Oakland prepare to host AIDS 2020, with drug use and sex work entry bans still in place, along with other daunting entry policies, organizers of this concurrent conference in Mexico City say it will offer a “safe alternative for individuals who cannot or will not enter the U.S. in 2020.”



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