chapter  22
12 Pages

Health and Human Rights: Old Wine in New Bottles?

I t is one of the remarkable and significant consequencesof the AIDS epidemic that out of the context of enor-mous suffering and death there emerged a forceful set of ideas linking the domains of health and human rights. At first, the effort centered on the observation that protecting individuals from discrimination and unwarranted intrusions on liberty were, contrary to previous epidemics, crucial to protecting the public health and interrupting the spread of HIV But in fairly short order, the scope of the health and human rights perspective expanded dramatically to focus on the ways in which the most fundamental social arrangements rendered individuals and communities vulnerable to HFV Racial and ethnic minorities, those who were marginalized, and women were at risk because of their subordinate status. In the face of such an understanding, nothing short of social change could be adequate to the challenge posed by the AIDS epidemic.