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By Lisa Vives
The United Nations has announced this year’s theme for World AIDS Day 2017. The annual event on December 1 spotlights the right to health and explores the challenges people worldwide face in exercising their rights.
“All people, regardless of their age, gender, where they live or who they love, have the right to health,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “No matter what their health needs are, everyone requires health solutions that are available and accessible, free from discrimination and of good quality.”
The right to health is enshrined in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. This includes the right of everyone to the prevention and treatment of ill health, to make decisions about one’s own health and to be treated with respect and dignity.
The right to health is much more than access to quality health services and medicines, organizers point out. It also depends on adequate sanitation and housing, healthy working conditions, a clean environment and access to justice.
The most marginalized people in society, including sex workers, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, people in prisons and migrants, are often the least able to access their right to health, and as such the most vulnerable to HIV.
Campaign materials include suggested tweets, downloadable posters and postcards and an information brochure that includes key messages about the right to health.
Under the hashtag #myrighttohealth, the campaign will provide information about the right to health and what impact it has on people’s lives. It also aims to increase the visibility around the need to achieve the full realization of the right to health by everyone, everywhere.