Joanne Csete

Joanne Csete

Joanne Csete

Associate Professor of Clinical
Population and Family Health


60 Haven Ave., #B2
New York NY USA 10032
Email: CV:


Joanne Csete, PhD, focuses her research and teaching on health and human rights, particularly the impact of criminalization and gender-based subordination on access to health services for people who use drugs, sex workers, and others vulnerable to HIV. At Human Rights Watch and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, she documented and engaged in advocacy on human rights abuses against marginalized people facing severe health risks in more than 20 countries. Dr. Csete has worked on HIV/AIDS and other health and nutrition programs and policies in Africa for over 10 years, including in complex emergency situations. She was the lead author of the report of the Lancet Commission on Drug Policy and International Public Health (2016).



PhD, 1988, Cornell University
MPH, 1981, Columbia University
BA, 1977, Princeton University

Columbia Affiliations

Director, Law, Policy and Rights Program, Heilbrunn Dept. of Population and Family Health

Honors & Awards

Reviewer, International AIDS Society international conference abstracts, 2004-2009
Opening keynote speaker, Conference on Reduction of Drug-Related Harm, Beirut, April 2011

Areas of Expertise

Violence, Women's Health, Nutrition, Global Health, Human Rights, Health Law, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Sex Education and Safe Sex, Addiction/Drug Abuse

Select Urban Health Activities

Influence of drug courts on access to methadone: Qualitative study involving New York City and several other counties in New York State on the influence of county-level drug court policies on people's access to medication-assisted treatment for opiate dependence

Select Global Activities

Swiss policy on illicit drugs: lessons for the world, Switzerland: Analysis of lessons from the history of Swiss policy on narcotic and psychotropic drugs, with attention to experiences that could be replicated in other settings
Narcotic drug policy in sub-Saharan Africa: Development of case studies of drug policy in four sub-Saharan countries, with attention to barriers to adopting politics that reflect internationally agreed best practice

Select Publications

J. Csete and R. Elliott Scaling up HIV testing: human rights and hidden costs HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review 11(1) 1, 5-9 2006
Csete, J. and Wolfe, D. Progress or backsliding on HIV and illicit drugs in 2008? Lancet 371(9627) 1920-1821 2008
Elliott, R., Csete, J., Palepu, A. and Kerr, T. Reason and rights in global drug control policy Canadian Medical Association Journal 172(5) 655-656 2005
Csete, J. HIV/AIDS and security: the other side of the coin Lancet 369(9563) 720-721 2007
Cohen, J. and Csete, J. As strong as the weakest pillar: harm reduction, law enforcement and human rights International Journal of Drug Policy 17(2) 101-103 2006
Harris, P.G. and Siplon, P., eds. Global politics of AIDS Lynne Rienner Boulder, CO, USA 247-262 2007
Csete J, Dube S. An inappropriate tool: criminal law and HIV in Asia AIDS Sept Sup 3 S80-85 2010
Csete, J. Male circumcision and HIV prevention: a human rights and public health challenge HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review 12(1) 1, 5-10 2007
Elliott, R., Csete, J., Wood E. and Kerr, T. Harm reduction, HIV/AIDS and the human rights challenge to global drug control policy Health and Human Rights 8(2) 104-109 2005
Csete, J., Gathumbi, A., Wolfe, D. and Cohen, J. Lives to save: Drug use, HIV and PEPFAR in Africa Lancet forthcoming 2009
Csete, J. and Seshu, M. Still underground: Searching for progress in realizing the human rights of women in prostitution HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review 9(3) 1, 8-13 2004
Csete J, Cohen J. Health benefits of legal services for criminalized populations: the case of people who use drugs, sex workers and sexual and gender minorities. J Law Med Ethics. J Law Med Ethics. 38(4) 816-31 2010
Jurgens R, Csete J, Amon JJ, Baral S, Beyrer C. People who use drugs, HIV, and human rights. Lancet 376(9739) 475-85 2010

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