SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
The following opinion piece by SECTION27 Senior Researcher Jonathan Berger was published on Health-e and in The Star on 11 March 2011.
For too long the debate about HIV testing and human rights has largely focused on the implications of the former for the latter: how testing has the potential to undermine rights. Given the experiences of many people living with HIV, this is understandable: many have lost – or been denied – jobs; insurance policies have been denied routinely; access to health care services has often been limited.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), SECTION27 and Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) South Africa voice support for their partners across the world opposing provisions in a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU) that threaten the sustainable supply of affordable medicines to millions of people in the developing world.
Many people living with HIV continue to face unfair discrimination in various aspects of their lives. SECTION27 often receives reports from people who are denied access to insurance products solely on the basis that they are HIV positive, or are offered cover at what appear to be highly inflated prices.
SECTION27 recently met with representatives of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) to raise concerns we have regarding the current approaches and practices of the insurance industry in relation to HIV.
Yesterday, March 1st 2011, a memorandum was sent to the highest officials in the UN, UNAIDS, WHO and the Chinese government. It is signed by more than 120 organisations, from across the world, including many within China. It is signed by prominent individuals, human rights organisations and trade unions, including the powerful two million member COSATU.
On 27 February Jonathan Berger, a senior researcher at SECTION27 and head of our policy unit, delivered the 2nd Martin Delaney Lecture at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.