To end the growing HIV epidemic among young women, human rights violations must be addressed. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have the potential to help, but only if political barriers are overcome and a rights-based approach is integrated. We have long known that biomedical interventions alone will not curb the HIV epidemic among young women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa. The history of the global response to HIV is ripe with political failures to address deep-seated human rights violations. Gender inequality—which ranges in its manifestations from persistent failures to recognize the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women to economic injustices perpetuated through law—allows HIV to flourish among young women and girls. This report discusses the environmental factors that enable the spread of HIV among young women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, the importance of the human rights framework in advancing the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls and how the SDGs can support a human-rights based approach to ending HIV among women and girls.
Health and Human Rights Journal