Statement and Recommendations on Scaling Up HIV Testing and Counselling, UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights

Letters and Other Advocacy Documents

This statement reinforces the principle that HIV testing and counseling must be implemented in ways that maximize benefits to individuals and public health while respecting, protecting, and fulfilling human rights obligations. The statement was issued by the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights, an independent, advisory body established in 2002 to advise the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on all matters relating to HIV and human rights. The statement was issued in response to guidance issued on May 30, 2007, by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS on provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling in health facilities. The statement welcomes the WHO/UNAIDS guidance but raises concerns and recommendations regarding human rights violations that, if not addressed, might be exacerbated by the WHO/UNAIDS guidance. The statement’s recommendations focus on counseling, informed consent, and confidentiality; scaling up voluntary counseling and testing efforts; meeting the needs of at-risk populations; creating universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support; the need for serious and greater investment in protection from discrimination and abuse; the need for increased human, technical, and financial resources; and invigorating the fight against compulsory and mandatory testing.