Societal enablers


Right-based HIV responses are dri­ven by struc­tural fac­tors, includ­ing polit­i­cal com­mit­ments and advo­cacy, laws, poli­cies, prac­tices, com­mu­nity mobi­liza­tion, stigma reduc­tion, local responses to change the risk envi­ron­ment, among other fac­tors. These are referred to here as the soci­etal enablers - they enhance the effec­tive­ness of HIV pro­grams by remov­ing imped­i­ments to ser­vice avail­abil­ity, access and uptake at the soci­etal level. The UNAIDS Strate­gic Frame­work 2020-2025 fur­ther pro­vides for soci­etal enablers as: a) Soci­eties with sup­port­ive legal envi­ron­ments and access to jus­tice; b) Gen­der equal soci­eties; c) Soci­eties free from stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion; and d) Co-action across devel­op­ment sec­tors to reduce exclu­sion and poverty. Social enablers may take the form of any top-down or socially imposed influ­ence on sex­ual and repro­duc­tive health, such as pos­i­tive legal deter­mi­nants and social norms like gen­der equal­ity. Since they can greatly affect the health and well-being of entire pop­u­la­tions, soci­etal enablers can and should be lever­aged in the global fight against HIV. Many bar­ri­ers to HIV test­ing and treat­ment are soci­etal, so struc­tural mea­sures must be taken to counter them.

Other soci­etal enablers are more nuanced and inter­sec­tional. Sex­ism and homo­pho­bia, for instance, can man­i­fest in a range of fac­tors like vio­lence, microag­gres­sions, and lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tion in HIV pro­grams. In response, soci­etal enablers like com­mu­nity grants and aware­ness cam­paigns should be employed to sup­port dis­en­fran­chised groups and com­bat social stigma. Soci­etal enablers are most effec­tive when they are tai­lored to spe­cific coun­tries, com­mu­ni­ties, and key pop­u­la­tions. If they are overly broad or imprac­ti­cal to imple­ment in a given con­text, soci­etal enablers may have lit­tle-to-no impact on peo­ple’s sex­ual and repro­duc­tive health. Com­mu­nity lead­er­ship is there­fore fun­da­men­tal to devel­op­ing laws and poli­cies that respond to peo­ple’s lived expe­ri­ences of spe­cific social bar­ri­ers.


2021 Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026

2021 HRC resolution on human rights in the context of HIV and AIDS

2019 Political declaration of the HLM on UHC

2018 Political declaration of the third HLM on NCDs

2016 Outcome Document of the Session on the World Drug Problem

2016 Resolution on Women, the Girl Child and HIV and AIDS

2016 HRC Resolution on civil society space

2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS

2011 Political Declaration of the HLM on NCDs

2010 ILO Recommendation concerning HIV and AIDS and the world of work

2007 WHA Resolution on progress in the rational use of medicines

1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

Expert precedents

2022 OHCHR Annual Report on Human Rights and HIV/AIDS


2020 Evidence Review of the UNAIDS Strategy 2016-2021