Universal Access and Human Rights

This is year is a very important year for young people. It is also the last opportunity we have to review ICPD to achieve universal access. At this very moment, the UNAIDS have named this year’s World AIDS Day theme as “Universal Access and Human Rights”.

Universal Access is the global commitment to make HIV prevention, testing, treatment, care and support services available to all those in need. This commitment is based on measurable, time-bound and realistic national targets specific to each country. During the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) in 2001, Member States adopted a series of time-bound targets, which were reaffirmed at the 2006 High Level Meeting on AIDS. Universal access was committed to during the 2005 G8 in Gleneagles, reaffirmed at the UN World Summit in 2005 and the UNGASS high level meeting in 2006.

We are just two years away from the 2010 target for achieving universal access. While progress has been made, the target is far from being met. Millennium Development Goal #6 underlines the urgency of the need for universal access, setting the target for 2015: To halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV and the incidence of malaria and other major diseases3. Yet as of 2007, an estimated 33.2 million people were living with HIV, 5.4 million of who were young people 15-24 years of age4. Gender inequality reduces the ability of young women (especially those who are married) to negotiate condom use and access services.

The 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, specifically recognizes the role that young people play in the response to HIV, acknowledging;

the particular role and significant contribution of people living with HIV/AIDS, young people and civil society actors in addressing the problem of HIV/AIDS in all its aspects, and recognizing that their full involvement and participation in the design, planning, implementa­tion and evaluation of programs is crucial to the development of effective responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

HIV has been part of our reality for about 25 years a young people continue to be one of the most affected groups. The challenge posed demand young peoples’ innovative solutions. Young people are the most critical resource in the global efforts to overcome prejudices and prevent the spread of HIV. We need your help to demand accountability for fulfilling the commitments that have been made on universal access.

Here is what you can do:

  • Protect yourself and help your peers protect themselves;
  • Be informed on the issues through resources like here;
  • Lobby leaders to make commitments and follow-up to ensure that these commit­ments are honored. Find out who in your country is working on HIV and AIDS issues and try to arrange a meet­ing with them to ensure that the voices of youth are being heard. It is important that decision-makers feel accountable to young people and that they know that youth advocates and campaigners are paying attention and are empow­ered to stand up for their rights and the rights of their peers12;
  • Engage in monitoring govern­ment and civil society efforts to meet youth targets in order to present a balanced view and voice the diverse concerns of young people;
  • Mobilize and campaign around key events, such as World AIDS Day (1 December of each year). You can find informa­tion on key HIV and AIDS events for youth here.

This article compiled using Youth Coalition’s fact sheet on youth and Universal Access. For more information visit the Youth Coalition Website.

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1 Response to “Universal Access and Human Rights”



  1. 1 2010 in review « Together We are the Solution Trackback on January 2, 2011 at 18:52

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