HIV/AIDS must be addressed within the framework of the international refugee protection regime, as laid out in the 1951 Refugee Convention and other international human rights instruments which provide for the respect of the rights of persons affected by HIV/AIDS.
In accordance with UNAIDS and WHO policies, UNHCR strictly opposes mandatory HIV testing of refugees because of the risk of indirect violation of human rights through discriminatory consequences for individuals who test positive for HIV. Mandatory testing does nothing to stop the spread of the virus.
Human Rights: All refugee relief operations must respect and protect human rights. The provision of HIV/AIDS education and services should be seen as part of meeting refugees’ basic rights to life, health, education and information. Refugees also have a right to freedom from violence, including sexual and gender-based violence. Coercion and discrimination, including mandatory testing, are never justified
(Refugees and AIDS - Technical Update. UNAIDS, Sept. 1997)
Consideration of how to protect and promote the rights of refugees can generate creative ideas to reduce vulnerability to HIV. For example, promoting refugees’ right to dignity might include stimulating social activities that encourage respect and trust, raise morale and enable men and women to meet in socially acceptable ways.