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Il Forum della SocietÓ Civile sulle violazioni Diritti Umani delle persone HIV positive PDF Stampa E-mail

Il Forum Europeo della Società Civile su HIV/AIDS che rappresenta le persone sieropositive esprime la propria indignazione alla Vice Presidente Viviane Reding.



Mrs. Viviane Reding
Vice-President and European Commissioner in charge of Justice,
Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
European Commission
BE-1049 Brussels

Justice on Greece

May 11, 2012, Brussels/Amsterdam

Dear Mrs. Reding,

With this letter we, co-chairs of the EU HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum, wish to express our indignation over recent actions by Greek authorities involving the arrest, detention, mandatory HIV testing, publication of photographs and personal details, and pressing of criminal charges against at least 12 sex workers. There is no evidence that punitive approaches to regulating sex work are effective in reducing HIV transmission among sex workers and their clients.

We make reference to a recent UNAIDS press statement on the matter which states that the initiation of criminal prosecution against sex workers living with HIV for intentional gross bodily harm raises concerns about the inappropriate application of criminal law, particularly in a context where clients have the social and economic power to insist upon condom use.

These practices are a violation of sex workers’ human rights, their right of freedom, privacy, and the confidentiality on their health condition. They are discriminatory and in complete contradiction with all international and EU treaties that Greece has ratified. They are also completely counterproductive in terms of HIV prevention and the opposite of all recommendations made in the fight against HIV.

The scapegoating of sex workers is not going to stop new infections, but only worsen the stigma and discriminations against sex workers and people living with HIV. The mandatory testing and the outing of sex workers living with HIV is only contributing to more distrust with medical institutions and sex workers avoiding access to medical care, when they should instead feel encouraged and respected. If sex workers ignore their HIV status and avoid medical care, they will not be able to access HIV treatments, which can both improve their health and have preventive benefit at the population level.

We are further concerned by a recent amendment to immigration legislation adopted in April 2012 that appears to provide for automatic detention of migrants and asylum-seekers who have an infectious disease, or belong to a group at high risk of infection, without consideration of whether they pose an actual risk. This includes sex workers, people who inject drugs and could be applied to people living with HIV.

To the degree the law assumes that people living with HIV, sex workers and people who use drugs pose a public health threat based only on their health and social status, it is overly broad and discriminatory, and represents an HIV-related restriction on entry, stay and residence.

We urge the Commission to contact the Greek authorities to discuss these developments  with a view to adopt evidence-based programmes and an enabling legal environment that supports all people—including sex workers and their clients, people who use drugs, migrants and asylum-seekers—to access voluntary and confidential HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services so that they can avoid HIV infection or live a healthier life if HIV-positive.


With best regards,





Anna Zakowicz


Lella Cosmaro

Co-chair, Civil Society Forum

Co-chair, Civil Society Forum

European AIDS Treatment Group

AIDS Action Europe

Place Raymond Blyckaerts 13

Keizersgracht 390

B-1050 Brussels

NL -1016 GB Amsterdam

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The EU HIV/AIDS Civil Soci
ety Forum (CSF) is an informal advisory body established in 2005 by the European Commission to facilitate the participation of NGOs and networks, including those representing People Living with HIV/AIDS, in European policy development and implementation as well as to exchange information.