Legislating for Health and Human Rights

Model Law on Drug Use and HIV/AIDS
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
January 2006

model-lawThe widespread legal, social and political ramifications of the HIV/AIDS epidemic make it necessary to review and reform a broad range of laws. Some countries have adopted national HIV/AIDS laws, but these laws often ignore crucial policy issues, as well as human rights abuses that perpetuate the HIV epidemic. This is particularly true with respect to illegal drug use.

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HIV prevention, care and treatment services operate best within a clear legal framework that specifically protects the human rights of people who use drugs and enables harm reduction measures to mitigate the impact of HIV. A legislative framework can provide clarity and sustainability for such services.

In early 2005, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network established a project advisory committee and developed a plan to produce model law that would assist states in more effectively addressing the HIV epidemic (and other harms) among people who use drugs, based on evidence of proven health protection and promotion measures, and in accordance with states' human rights obligations. The final document, that is accessible below in 6 languages, benefited from the thinking of a wide range of experts in the fields of HIV/AIDS, human rights and drug policy.

The publication is also available in Chinese, Farsi, French, and Russian.