Published January, 2003

Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 3, HIV/AIDS and the rights of the child, U.N. Doc. CRC/GC/2003/1 (2003)

General Comment No. 3 was issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to promote the realization of the human rights of children in the context of HIV/AIDS as guaranteed under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”). General Comment No. 3 identifies and elaborates on several rights of children and corresponding obligations of state parties with regard to HIV/AIDS issues such as discrimination, HIV-prevention information, health services, counseling and testing, mother-to-child transmission, and children affected and orphaned by HIV/AIDS. For example, General Comment No. 3 explains that under Articles 24, 13, and 17 of the CRC, children should have the right to access adequate information related to HIV/AIDS prevention and care through both formal and informal channels. It also states that “accessibility of voluntary, confidential HIV-counseling and testing services, with due attention to the evolving capacities of the child, is fundamental to the rights and health of children.”

General Comment No. 3 is especially useful for those seeking to understand how HIV/AIDS impacts children and families and what states’ obligations are to respond; it is best read alongside the CRC, available separately in the Resource Bank.