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Human Rights Watch’s reports document a wide range of human rights violations that are fueling the global HIV/AIDS crisis and undermining the limited success stories to date. Sexual violence and coercion faced by women and girls, stigmatization of men who have sex with men, abuses against sex workers and injection drug users, and violations of the right of young persons to information on HIV transmission are widespread. Human rights violations only add to the stigmatization of persons living with HIV, and drive underground those who need information and treatment most desperately.

Since 2001, Human Rights Watch has advocated for legal and policy protections for persons affected by or at high risk of HIV/AIDS. In India and Jamaica, for instance, this means the repeal of antiquated sodomy laws that contribute to police abuse of HIV/AIDS educators who work with men who have sex with men. In Romania, the government must protect access to education, medical care and employment for HIV-positive adolescents as they enter adulthood. Restrictions on civil society speech and assembly, and arbitrary health and social welfare policies, imperil access to antiretroviral drugs in Zimbabwe.