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Protecting Human Rights Of Women Living With HIV

“Women who are living with HIV remain particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses, including unlawful breaches of confidentiality, denial of health services, compulsory HIV testing and in some cases forced sterilization,” a UNAIDS feature story reports, highlighting a study from January 2008 by the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW), which found that “[o]f the 230 women interviewed, most reported some form of discrimination in health services and nearly 20 percent stated that they had been coerced or forced into sterilization.” The article continues, “All too often, women living with HIV lack the means and support to challenge violation of their human rights,” adding, “However in Namibia, with the help of the Legal Assistance Centre, a local human rights organization, three women living with HIV took legal action for having been sterilized without their informed consent.” According to the article, “The ruling has been hailed as a step forward in recognizing the reproductive health rights of all women regardless of their HIV status” (8/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.