Magazine article New Internationalist

Simply: Health and Humanity (the Global HIV/AIDS Threat)

Magazine article New Internationalist

Simply: Health and Humanity (the Global HIV/AIDS Threat)

Article excerpt

HUMAN RIGHTS are good for health. Despite calls to act against people with HIV, most governments have realized that driving HIV underground by demonizing sufferers does nothing to stop the virus. Many governments have intervened to restrict the freedom of movement of people with HIV and Aids but none have legislated to protect them from the many forms of social discrimination. Too often the best that can be said is that governments have not reacted as badly as they might. Here are some examples of good and bad practice.

EUROPE

UK

Needle exchanges reduce the rate of HIV transmission for injecting drug users. Mortgages, life assurance and other financial services may be impossible to obtain by those who know they are HIV positive.

GERMANY

Compulsory testing for foreign students. In the state of Bavaria, prostitutes are presumed to be infected and are subjected to compulsory testing every three months.

Applicants wishing to enter the civil service must also undergo an HIV test.

RUSSIA

The Russian parliament legalized gay sex, realizing that if HIV/Aids education is to work homosexuality must no longer be seen as a crime. Since the collapse of the USSR many medical authorities are under - resourced and reliable sterilization procedures have become impossible to maintain.

PACIFIC

JAPAN

Refuses entry to sex workers and people who are HIV positive and deemed 'likely to infect others by promiscuous behaviour'. This may mean that delegates could be prevented from attending the next world HIV/Aids conference, scheduled to be held here.

AUSTRALIA

Compulsory HIV testing is carried out in prisons in South Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Tasmania. Some states then segregate prisoners, thus making their test results public knowledge.

AOTEAROA/NZ

Maori groups are promoting prevention and tailoring the message to fit the indigenous value system. Government has embarked on anti - discrimination legislation but has cut funds for HIV prevention since 1990.

ASIA

BURMA

Last year 25 HIV positive women were executed with cyanide injections after being sent back from Thailand where they had been forced to work as prostitutes.

INDIA

India has blamed HIV on 'deviants', punishing them with harassment, captivity and isolation. But human rights activists are forcing changes in government attitudes and some local groups and international agencies are now tackling Hiv prevention as part of broader development needs.

CHINA

People who test positive are hospitalized and/or isolated. …

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