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"People living with HIV are confronted with discrimination in employment, healthcare, education and housing. People living with HIV must be legally protected from discrimination", emphasised Morten Kjaerum, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) ahead of the World AIDS Conference. "In particular, access to healthcare must be guaranteed for everyone, if we want to stop the spread of the epidemic. The Fundamental Rights Agency recommends that HIV testing should be anonymous and free for all", Morten Kjaerum concluded.
An estimated 30%-50% of people living with HIV in the European Union are unaware of their HIV positive status. The consequences of this for transmission of the virus are clear.
The international conference, "Rights Here, Right Now", will take place in the Agency's host city, Vienna/Austria. It will bring together more than 25 000 actors from international organisations and governments, as well as health professionals, and civil society organisations. See http://www.aids2010.org/ for more information.
FRA Director Morten Kjaerum will speak at the following two sessions:
20 July, 13:00-14:00, Special Session on Human Rights and Health
22 July, 18:30-20:30, Satellite Session on Effective policies and measures in Europe to address key populations
A FRA paper on "A rights-based approach to HIV in the European Union" will be published later this year. A factsheet is available for download.
For further information please contact the FRA media team:
Tel.: +43 158 030 - 642
Notes to editors:
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has three key functions: to provide evidence-based advice to the EU and its Member States; to
collect information and data on fundamental rights; and to promote dialogue with civil society in order to raise public awareness of fundamental rights.
The European Parliament has passed a Resolution on a rights-based approach to the EU's response to HIV/AIDS on 6 July, in which it calls to recognise HIV/AIDS as a European public health priority. In the same resolution, the Parliament calls on the EU Fundamental Rights Agency to "gather further evidence on the human rights situation of people living with HIV in Europe, taking into account especially their vulnerability to multiple and inter-sectional discrimination." Available here