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"HIV is as much a human rights issue as it is a medical problem. Groups that are already vulnerable to human rights violations are also those are mostly affected by HIV. In Europe, these groups include men having sex with men, injecting drug users, sex workers, migrants and prisoners. Therefore, if we want to reduce the likelihood of exposure to HIV transmission for these groups, we need human rights interventions that improve their overall situation. For people already living with HIV, a rights-based approach means creating and enforcing legal protection against discrimination, for example in employment or housing, or facilitating medical treatment during working time. It also means free, anonymous and accessible HIV testing for everyone, which will encourage people to come forward for testing and support."
The FRA participated in the XVIII International Aids Conference in Vienna in July, presenting a discussion paper on developing a rights-based approach to HIV in the European Union. The motto "Rights here, right now" echoes the message from the FRA that unless people feel protected and supported in case they would be HIV positive, they will not come forward and the epidemic will not be effectively contained.
HIV is a growing problem in Europe. In 2008 alone, there were 25 656 newly reported HIV infections in the EU. From 2000 to 2008, HIV prevalence increased by 37 percent. In the EU and its neighbouring European countries, more than 2 million people are estimated to be HIV-positive today.