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23.03.2020

Relevant Resources on COVID-19 and HIV, TB and viral Hepatitis

In times of a pandemic crisis, we must keep protecting human rights, and continue addressing discrimination and stigma.

Therefore, we have linked relevant information on COVID-19 and HIV, TB and viral Hepatitis:

As the world struggles with a new global pandemic, law- and policymakers are taking drastic measures in an attempt to minimise the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The situation continues to evolve rapidly and, as it does so, our liberties are being limited in unprecedented ways. We remind law- and policymakers that each and every limitation of rights should satisfy the five criteria of the Siracusa Principles, as well as be of a limited duration and subject to review and appeal.

The current public health crisis raises serious additional concerns for the wellbeing of people who use drugs, ensuring service continuity for those with drug problems, and the protection of those offering care and support for this population. The purpose of this briefing is to highlight emerging risks linked to the COVID-19 pandemic for people who use drugs and those providing services for them from a European perspective, and where necessary to encourage planning, review and adaption of frontline and specialist drug interventions.

The guidance provides useful information to staff and health care providers working in prisons, and to prison authorities. It explains how to prevent and address a potential disease outbreak and stresses important human rights elements that must be respected in the response to COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention. Access to information and adequate health care provision, including for mental disorders, are essential aspects in preserving human rights in such places.

People Who Use Drugs can be considered as a risk group in the COVID-19 epidemic. They often live at the margins of society with low or no access to housing, employment, financial resources, social and health care, and face systematic discrimination and criminalisation in the majority of countries. Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, together with the Rights Reporter Foundation, published a joint position on the continuity of harm reduction services during the COVID-19 crisis.

Many sex workers come from communities that already face high levels of marginalization and social exclusion including people living in poverty, migrants and refugees, trans people and drug users. Sex workers who are the primary earners in their families, or who don't have alternative means of support are at risk of being forced into more precarious and dangerous situations to survive. ICRSE is calling for national governments to urgently act to ensure that sex workers, along with their families and communities, can access social protections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is currently no clear evidence that people living with HIV are at an increased risk of acquiring COVID-19 or of becoming more ill from it. However, many people living with HIV are ageing and/or have other health conditions, including heart disease or lung disease, that are known to make people susceptible to more severe COVID-19 disease. UNAIDS published ressources on "What people living with HIV need to know about HIV and COVID-19".

 

UN human rights experts urged States to avoid overreach of security measures in their response to the coronavirus outbreak and reminded them that emergency powers should not be used to quash dissent.

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If there are any questions about the resources or you would like to get in contact with us, please write to: info@aidsactioneurope.org.


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