18 May 2010

The Global Fund is supporting programmes that address HIV-related human rights issues; however, countries do not appear to be using this opportunity to establish and scale up all of the programmes needed to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase access to justice in national responses to HIV.

These are two of the conclusions of a study done by UNAIDS on "Addressing Human Rights Issues in National Responses to HIV: A Review of Programmes to Reduce Stigma and Discrimination and Increase Access to Justice." However, UNAIDS points out that the data set for the analysis was small because the documents available on the Internet for many Global Fund proposals were incomplete.

The study reviewed documents in 56 countries, including papers used to plan national AIDS strategies, and successful HIV and HIV/TB proposals for the Global Fund's Rounds 6 and 7.

The study set out to identify to what extent the following six key programme areas were included in national responses:

  • programmes to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination
  • HIV-related legal services for people living with HIV and key populations at risk
  • training of key service providers (e.g. health care workers, judiciary and police) on non-discrimination, informed consent and confidentiality
  • legal audit and law reform programmes
  • "know your rights/laws" campaigns
  • programmes to reduce violence against women and girls

The study found that successful Global Fund proposals included, on average, 2.5 of the six programme areas. In addition, Global Fund proposals sometimes included programme areas that were not included in national strategic plans, thus indicating that the Global Fund may have been used to fill gaps in the national strategies. Programmes found in Global Fund proposals were more likely to be targeted to specific populations than those found in national strategic plans. However, the review did not find strong evidence of specific budgets and indicators for these programmes being included in Global Fund proposals.

This article is based on a summary report issued by UNAIDS, which will be posted on the UNAIDS website (www.unaids.org) in the coming weeks. UNAIDS is planning to subsequently release a full report. In addition, UNAIDS, UNDP and the Global Fund are involved in a new project that builds on the research conducted by UNAIDS. The three organisations are conducting an in-depth analysis of human rights programming in grants financed in Rounds 6 and 7, which will look at target populations, budgets, indicators and performance ratings. In addition, UNDP is collaborating with the Open Society Institute, which is working on an advocacy strategy to strengthen Global Fund support to programmes that promote human rights.

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