Human Rights in the Time of HIV/AIDS

Rebecca Maina

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Over the last decade or so, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has reported a marked decline in AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections. Yet people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs), especially those in the most affected, less industrialized regions of the global south, continue to face problems associated with the illness, among them stigma, discrimination and limited access to healthcare needs such as life-prolonging antiretroviral drugs (ARVs, also referred to as antiretroviral therapy (ART)). PLWHA and HIV/AIDS advocacy groups have long employed human rights as a weapon in the struggle to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and the suffering of PLWHAs, and to attain and secure better conditions and health provisions for the infected and the affected. This article, based on research conducted in Kenya at the height of the AIDS crisis in the early to mid 2000s, examines PLWHAs’ awareness of human rights, the sources that they cite for such information, and any perceived links that they identify between their illness and the subject of human rights. In doing so, it approaches the rights discussion from the less familiar perspective of the PLWHAs themselves, seeking to gain an insight into how this group encounters, internalises and articulates – or not – the language and norms of human rights, and what this may tell us about the role of HIV/AIDS in shaping their subjectivities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-49
    JournalMountbatten Journal of Legal Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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