Dr. Robert Carr was a world-renowned advocate, HIV activist, champion of social justice, and tireless defender of human rights. Before his untimely passing in 2011, Robert dedicated his life to nurturing community-based responses to HIV around the world, becoming well known as a pioneer and global leader in advancing the health and human rights of marginalized groups. Robert’s work spanned many roles over the course of his distinguished career, but all of his efforts were grounded in compassion, dignity, and justice for all.
Robert envisioned a global HIV response that was complex, effective, and locally specific. One that seeks to recognize and understand the unique vulnerabilities impinging upon vulnerable groups—including violence, discrimination, economic marginalization, and social injustice—and creates long-term, structural responses that are intelligent, community-centered, and realistic. His vision was years ahead of its time, though he would have said “long overdue,” and he held fast to it, never allowing expectations to be lowered in the face of constrained economic resources, political resistance, or reticence to tackle difficult issues.
The Robert Carr Doctrine calls for:
- Rethinking the problem so that HIV and AIDS are conceived of as byproducts of social inequity, and epidemiological facts are seen as "the biological manifestations of social fault lines"
- Restructuring the response so that HIV is not just seen as a public health issue - current responses are heavily individualised and bio-medical; without the prioritisation of investment toward hardest-hit populations, civil society advocacy, and community development" and structural attempts to address social inequity the AIDS response will fail
- Reclaiming the movement so that HIV is seen primarily as a human rights issue - the criminalisation, systematic exclusion, and massive discrimination against key affected populations must end.
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