Evolving Human Rights and the Science of Antiretroviral Medicine

Health and Human Rights Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 76 - 90 (2015)

Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 236-2015

16 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2015

See all articles by Matthew Kavanagh

Matthew Kavanagh

Georgetown University

Jennifer Cohn

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

Lynette Mabote

AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa

Benjamin Mason Meier

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Brian Williams

University of the Witwatersrand - Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit (RHRU)

Asia Russell

Health GAP

Kenly Sikwese

African Community Advisory Board

Brook K. Baker

Northeastern University - School of Law

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Recent years have seen significant advances in the science of using antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) to fight HIV. Where not long ago ARVs were used late in disease to prevent sick people from dying, today people living with HIV can use ARVs to achieve viral suppression early in the course of disease. This article reviews the mounting new scientific evidence of major clinical and prevention ARV benefits. This has changed the logic of the AIDS response, eliminating competition between “treatment” and “prevention” and encouraging early initiation of treatment for individual and public health benefit. These breakthroughs have implications for the health-related human rights duties of States. With medical advance, the “highest attainable standard” of health has taken a leap, and with it the rights obligations of States. We argue that access to early treatment for all is now a core State obligation and restricting access to, or failing to provide accurate information about, it violates both individual and collective rights. In a context of real political and technical challenges, however, in this article we review the policy implications of evolving human rights obligations given the new science. National and international legal standards require action on budget, health and intellectual property policy, which we outline.

Suggested Citation

Kavanagh, Matthew and Cohn, Jennifer and Mabote, Lynette and Meier, Benjamin Mason and Williams, Brian and Russell, Asia and Sikwese, Kenly and Baker, Brook K., Evolving Human Rights and the Science of Antiretroviral Medicine (2015). Health and Human Rights Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 76 - 90 (2015), Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 236-2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2621756

Matthew Kavanagh (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Jennifer Cohn

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases ( email )

3400 Spruce Street
3rd Floor Silverstein, Suite D
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Lynette Mabote

AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa ( email )

ARASA Regional Office
53 Mont Blanc Street
Windhoek
Namibia

Benjamin Mason Meier

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( email )

CB 3435
103 Abernethy Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States
919-962-0542 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.benjaminmasonmeier.com/

Brian Williams

University of the Witwatersrand - Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit (RHRU) ( email )

South Africa

Asia Russell

Health GAP ( email )

429 W. 127th St., 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10027
United States

Kenly Sikwese

African Community Advisory Board ( email )

Eerste Helmersstraat 17 B3 l 1054 CX
Amsterdam
Netherlands

Brook K. Baker

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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