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HIV, Mental Health, and Human Rights 

HIV, Mental Health, and Human Rights
HIV, Mental Health, and Human Rights

Catherine Esposito

and Daniel Tarantola

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date: 19 September 2021

Catherine Esposito and Daniel Tarantola trace the important history of how the confrontation with HIV was critical to making the link between health and human rights. They expound on the reciprocal relationships between HIV, health, and human rights, and make suggestions about how this relationship could be improved, through overcoming structural, systemic, and financial obstacles that pre-empt comprehensive, effective responses to co-morbidity. They cite unnecessary hospitalizations of people with serious mental disorders, and in various parts of Asia, compulsory treatment of drug addicts at high risk of HIV in mandatory drug treatment facilities without access to due process. The power to reduce vulnerability is rooted in governments’ ability to deliver on their human rights obligations. They argue for supportive policy, legal, and research environments that acknowledge rather than ignore the relationships between HIV, mental health, and human rights, that increase awareness of the advantages of bridging these domains, and adopt strategies in mental health, HIV, primary care, and social services to do so, including making these services economically affordable, high-quality, and non-discriminatory. Mental health literacy campaigns may assist participation for those living with HIV. Accountability processes and reports (e.g. declarations, international treaty monitoring, Millenium Development Goals, national monitoring) need to attend to the issue and impact of HIV/mental health co-morbidity.

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