Did you know that each country has its own laws that protect the rights of persons living with HIV? Do you know what your rights are and whom you can turn to if you need legal support?
Do you know what your obligations are as a person living with HIV?
This section will provide you with this important information. Remember that by knowing your rights you are empowered to better cope with everyday challenges.
MY RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS
Each country has laws that protect people with HIV from stigma and discrimination. These are supported by the recommendations of organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Union (EU), UNESCO, and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
In general, these organizations state that:
1. Any action that violates the rights of people living with HIV, and that limits, prevents or negates their participation in activities including work, school, social or any other kind, because of their health, is discriminatory and should be sanctioned.
2. HIV infection is not a reason for termination of employment nor is it a legal cause for dismissal. The worker is not obliged to inform the employer of his/her health condition.
3. No student or teacher can be denied the right to attend classes and participate in school activities on the basis of being HIV positive.
4. No one can be denied the right to lodging or housing because of HIV.
5. People with HIV have the same rights to medical care as the rest of the population.
6. The right to confidentiality and privacy must be scrupulously observed. Any reference to the condition of HIV infection or disease, without the consent of the person concerned, violates their rights and therefore is not allowed.
7. The serological test, as well as any other type of medical examination, is voluntary and cannot be carried out without the person´s consent.
8. In the absence of a vaccine, the only way to avoid HIV transmission is by following preventive measures, such as: not sharing syringes or other injection related equipment, using a condom during anal and/or vaginal penetration, not swallowing or having semen or vaginal discharge in the mouth, and taking medically supervised preventive measures in the case of pregnant HIV positive women.
9. Because of the way the virus acts, many people may not know they are HIV positive until after a certain period of time, during which they may transmit the virus. Therefore, the responsibility of implementing preventive measures lies not only with the person infected with HIV but also includes all citizens, whether affected by HIV or not.
10. Supporting people with HIV/AIDS is not only a way to be supportive of them but also of ourselves. By defending their rights, we also defend our own rights and those of all other citizens.