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IAS Digest: Upholding human rights and putting people first

IAS Digest

We are excited to share the first edition of the IAS Digest with you. The Digest will provide regular updates on the most pressing issues facing people living with, affected by and working on HIV today. Our inaugural newsletter is dedicated to upholding human rights and putting people first.

A human rights-based HIV response ensures access to healthcare, protects against discrimination and fosters inclusion. It is crucial for effective prevention, treatment and support in communities worldwide.

IAS–Lancet Commission

IAS–Lancet Commission

By every measure, human rights are being reversed across much of the world, with far-reaching effects on human health, according to the IAS-Lancet Commission on Health and Human Rights. This can be seen, for example, in stark disparities in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, preventable deaths of migrants at sea, a growing number of climate refugees, and loss of sexual and reproductive autonomy and rights where abortion access is restricted.

The Commission, launched in 2021, has been studying the state of health and human rights and why the world has backtracked on these issues. Its 23 Commissioners, all leaders in their fields, developed recommendations in eight health and human rights domains. These are presented in the Commission’s report, released in March.

The health field should lead the way in combatting the deterioration of the human rights climate and impunity of human rights violators, the Commissioners say. “Undertaking this essential but daunting task requires successful efforts to persuade both policy makers and global citizens that adherence to human rights is essential to survival.”

Read the report

Me and My Healthcare Provider

Me and My Healthcare ProviderWhen Efraín Pérez García in Mexico was diagnosed with HIV two years ago, his frightened mother told him that God was punishing him and he would die. He packed his clothes in garbage bags and left home with his heart “torn to pieces” and hope lost.

But then he met social worker Carlos Alberto López Zaragoza, who set Efraín on a path that restored his faith in himself.

HIV-related stigma and discrimination, including by healthcare workers, remain major barriers to ending the HIV pandemic as a public health threat. There are healthcare workers, like Carlos, however, who are breaking those barriers – and the Me and My Healthcare Provider Campaign celebrates them. To mark Zero Discrimination Day on 1 March, the IAS shared the inspiring stories of how they deliver quality HIV services to key populations, often in the face of stigma and discrimination.

Our role is that of caregivers and not judges; it is a role of building, together with the person, a path of care, and this involves understanding aspects of sexuality in all possible ways of relating and having pleasure.

Wandson Padilha, Healthcare Provider Champion

Heart of Stigma

Heart of Stigma

All countries should invest in societal-enabling approaches that remove legal barriers, shift harmful social and gender norms, reduce inequalities and improve institutional and community structures, the Global consensus statement on HIV-related stigma asserts. Further, it calls on countries to commit to removing and/or updating laws that impede HIV services and ensuring that no more than 10% of people living with HIV and people in key populations experience stigma and discrimination.

The consensus statement is the result of a collaborative process led by the IAS Heart of Stigma programme to find common ground on concepts, measures and strategies for addressing HIV-related stigma nationally and globally. The statement has been published in EnglishFrench and Portuguese.

Read the statement

Harm reduction and HIV

Harm reduction and HIV

People who use drugs are among the most vulnerable to HIV, but they are marginalized, and health and social services seldom reach them. Integrated person-centred harm reduction is an evidence-based approach that can minimize the adverse effects related to drug use and other behaviours, like condomless sex, that make people more vulnerable to acquiring HIV.

The IAS Person-Centred Care programme has developed a resources webpage on harm reduction and HIV aimed at empowering people who use drugs. It advocates for a fully funded approach to harm reduction in a decriminalized society.

Access the resources page

IAS statements on anti-gay laws

IAS statements on anti-gay laws

In Africa, 33 of 55 countries currently punish gay relationships with imprisonment. This is despite clear evidence that criminalizing same-sex relations sharply increases the chances of acquiring HIV.

The IAS published two statements, raising its concern about: the passing of a bill in Ghana that criminalizes same-sex relationships, part of an upsurge of anti-gay political acts in Africa; and the Ugandan Constitutional Court’s ruling to uphold the country’s harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act. 

The IAS urges governments to put people first and follow the science: criminalizing any population fuels the HIV pandemic by excluding people from testing, treatment and care. 

Read the statements


Read the new JIAS viewpoints, "Reflecting on a Decade of Progress: Zero Discrimination Day and the Ongoing Struggle Against Transphobia", and "Bringing together the pieces: the need for holistic care for women with HIV".

JIAS is calling for abstracts for a supplement, titled "PEP in Africa: prospects, opportunities and challenges", to be launched at IAS 2025, the 13th IAS Conference on HIV Science. Deadline for submissions is 15 May 2024. 

Access JIAS

HIV unmuted

HIV unmuted

UNAIDS data show that 55% of new HIV acquisitions globally occur among key populations (gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons and other closed settings, sex workers and trans people) and their sexual partners. If we are to ever really tackle the persisting inequalities that fuel the HIV pandemic, we must put people first.

In this HIV unmuted podcast episode, titled “Put people first”, our guests explore what it takes to put people first when addressing continuing inequities in the HIV response in a context of limited resources.

Listen to our podcast

Pre-conferences at AIDS 2024

Pre-conferences at AIDS 2024

Don't forget to register for the AIDS 2024 pre-conferences.

Register for our pre-conferences

Get involved

Check out our IAS events page for more.



The official theme of AIDS 2024, the 25th International AIDS Conference, is Put people first! 

Join the online conversation and share how you and/or your organization put people first, using #PutPeopleFirst!

Join the conversation

Connect with us and stay up to date by following the official IAS social media channels.

The IAS promotes the use of non-stigmatizing, people-first language. The translations are all automated in the interest of making our content as widely accessible as possible. Regretfully, they may not always adhere to the people-first language of the original version.