Rights in the time of COVID-19: Lessons from HIV for an effective, community-led response

covid 19 lessons from hiv covid 19 lessons from hiv


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“In times of fear and panic, some countries may resort to politically-driven, restrictive, stigmatizing and punitive measures. These may include compulsory blanket travel restrictions, quarantining large groups of people, combining people who have and people who do not have the virus, publishing the names and details of people who have the virus, using stigmatizing language such as “super-spreaders” or criminalizing people who may have breached restrictions or transmitted the virus to others.”

“From the HIV epidemic we have learned that restrictive, stigmatizing and punitive measures can lead to significant human rights abuses, with disproportionate effects on already vulnerable communities. They can often undermine epidemic responses, sending people with symptoms underground and failing to address the underlying barriers that people face in attempting to protect their own health and that of their community. Indeed, for COVID-19, the World Health Organization does not advise implementing compulsory large-scale restrictive measures such as disproportionate or overly restrictive bans on travel or free movement.”

Source: UNAIDS

About Peter Kim

Strategic Communications Manager, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition