Global Norms and Standards

A number of internationally agreed norms and standards relate to women and HIV and AIDS. Among the most prominent are:

  • The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action calls for the involvement of women in HIV/AIDS policies and programmes; the review and amendment of laws that contribute to women’s vulnerability to HIV and AIDS and implementation of legislation, policies and practices to protect women and girls from HIV/AIDS-related discrimination; and the strengthening of national capacity to create and improve gender-sensitive policies and programmes on HIV/AIDS.
  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its General Recommendations contain important substantive provisions for advancing gender equality. They equip states parties with tools to promote the full realization of women’s human rights, including in developing gender-sensitive national responses to HIV/AIDS.
  • In the Millennium Declaration, world leaders resolved to have halted, and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. Millennium Development Goal 6 aims to achieve universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it by 2010, and to halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
  • The 2001 UN General Assembly Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS stressed that gender equality and women’s empowerment were fundamental elements in the reduction of the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV/AIDS. The 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS recognized that the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment and the protection of the rights of the girl child must be key components of any comprehensive strategy to combat the epidemic. In the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: Intensifying our Efforts to Eliminate HIV/AIDS, UN Member States pledged to increase the capacity of women and adolescent girls to protect themselves from the risk of HIV infection, and to take all necessary measures to create an enabling environment for empowering women.
  • Human Rights Council resolutions on the protection of human rights in the context of HIV and AIDS include resolution 16/28. Adopted in 2011, it stresses ensuring the availability, accessibility and affordability of medicines and health care services for HIV-positive pregnant women. It also calls for establishing or expanding gender-sensitive national HIV/AIDS policies and programmes.
  • UN Security Council resolution 1983 from 2011 notes the disproportionate burden of HIV and AIDS on women. It urges Member States, UN entities, international financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders to support national health systems and civil society networks in assisting women living with or affected by HIV in conflict and post-conflict situations. Security Council resolution 1308, adopted in 2000, addresses the HIV and AIDS–related responsibilities of international peacekeeping operations.
  • The UN Commission on the Status of Women has passed resolutions on women, the girl child, and HIV and AIDS, including resolution 55/2 in 2011. It has issued agreed conclusions on the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV and AIDS in 2009, and on women, the girl child and HIV/AIDS in 2001.