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Women and HIV/AIDS: Towards a Jurisprudence of Social and Economic Rights

IMPOWR Imprints, August 2012

10 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2012  

Anna E. Carpenter

University of Tulsa College of Law

Date Written: August 7, 2012


This article argues that traditional HIV/AIDS prevention efforts focused on addressing individual risk factors are not sufficient to end the spread of the disease among women. Rather, systemic factors rooted in economic and gender inequality are the primary drivers of the HIV epidemic among women. As a result, the U.S. response to HIV/AIDS must address these factors, namely poverty and violence. The article then argues for a commitment to a social and economic rights framework as a key part of efforts to end the HIV epidemic. The social and economic rights critical to ending the HIV epidemic are those that would lift women and their families out of poverty, help them secure stable housing, give them the economic means to leave violent relationships, and give them access to health care. These rights include a right to a minimum level of economic support, a right to housing, and a right to health. The article finally articulates how a positive rights framework would offer descriptive, practical, and aspirational benefits necessary to eradicate the HIV epidemic among U.S. women.

Suggested Citation

Carpenter, Anna E., Women and HIV/AIDS: Towards a Jurisprudence of Social and Economic Rights (August 7, 2012). IMPOWR Imprints, August 2012. Available at SSRN:

Anna E. Carpenter (Contact Author)

University of Tulsa College of Law ( email )

3120 E. Fourth Place
Tulsa, OK 74104
United States
918-631-5799 (Phone)


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