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Aids And Rights Alliance For Southern Africa Charity Profile
Established in 2002, the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) is a regional partnership of non-governmental organisations working together to promote a human rights approach to HIV/AIDS and TB in Southern Africa through capacity building and advocacy. It is constituted in the form of a trust and all partner organisations are members of the trust. Three steering committees, comprising trust members, act as advisory boards for the three ARASA programme areas: training and awareness raising, advocacy and lobbying and regional treatment literacy and advocacy.ARASA focuses its activities in three interlinking programme areas:
ARASA seeks to achieve its primary objective through:
Advocacy and lobbying;
Training and capacity building; and
Capacity building for access to treatment and prevention.
Central to all of the programme areas is the recognition that some 25 years into the epidemic the protection of human rights remains critical to a successful response to HIV and AIDS. HIV-related stigma and discrimination remain major obstacles to meeting the target of universal access to HIV prevention, care and treatment. It is internationally recognised that protection of human rights, both of those vulnerable to HIV infection and those already infected, is not only a right, but also produces positive public health results against HIV. The denial of human rights such as the rights to non-discrimination and gender equality, information, education, health, privacy and social assistance increases both vulnerability to infection as well as the impact of the epidemic. Particular attention must be given to protecting the rights of vulnerable groups such as women, young people and children as well as the rights of marginalised groups such as men having sex with men (MSM), intravenous drug users (IDU's), commercial sex workers, prisoners and others who engage in activities deemed to be immoral or illegal if they are to avoid infection and withstand the impact of HIV.
ARASA's central operational strategy through all three of these programme areas is thus to utilise the ARASA partnership to build and strengthen the capacity of civil society, with a particular focus on PLWA organisations, to effectively advocate for a human rights approach to HIV/AIDS and TB in southern Africa.