Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, public health and human rights experts have debated whether individual rights to informed consent, confidentiality of HIV test results, and pre- and post-test counseling ought to be relaxed in order to maximize the number of people tested for HIV. This debate reached its apex in 2002, when prominent health experts began calling for a move away from the traditional client-initiated voluntary counseling and testing model toward an approach that makes testing more routine within health facilities. Anticipating objections from human rights groups, some commentators went as far as to suggest that human rights-based approaches to HIV testing might have reduced the role of public health and social justice in HIV policy. This paper, however, shows that HIV testing can and should be expanded without disregard for human rights.
Published by the Open Society Public Health Program, Increasing Access to HIV Testing and Counseling While Respecting Human Rights is available for download.