By Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)
HIV civil society coalition the Love Alliance launched the first HIV/AIDS Language Compendium. The compendium has been praised as a useful tool for high level United Nations negotiations and can be used for community advocacy to advance human rights commitments — particularly regarding access to healthcare and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
A number of countries are pushing back on internationally-accepted language around rights and gender within the global HIV response, with dire consequences for political commitments, programs and funding. The HIV/AIDS Language Compendium released provides policymakers and activists with the words to fight back.
UN political declarations on HIV and AIDS have historically been adopted by consensus. Still, four countries voted against the latest declaration at the 2021 meeting. Their opposition followed unsuccessful attempts to remove language in the document affirming the rights of key populations, such as young people and people who use drugs, as well as reproductive health and sexuality. Major international HIV and other health and development agreements have historically included this language without opposition.
Countries have sought to remove mentions of “harm reduction,” or strategies to reduce negative consequences of drug use. References to “community-led” programming were also opposed during negotiations despite decades of research showing community-led responses improve HIV treatment outcomes.