MY RIGHTS


My Rights and Obligations

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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.


HIV and AIDS laws

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Laws that protect people living with HIV/AIDS can be reviewed by visiting the following links:

More information about legal aspects and human rights can also be found at the following link:

http://www.pasca.org/


Legal advice

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On a global scale, since the appearance of the first cases of HIV at the beginning of the nineteen eighties, the first violations of the rights of people living with HIV were committed, especially regarding their health since people were refused medical care.

Later, discrimination against people living with HIV (PLH) spread to other areas such as the workplace, education, and public services.

It is important for the person living with the virus to know his/her rights and which actions violate these rights, for example:

  • Request for HIV testing to obtain or keep a job, in both the public and private sectors.
  • Employment termination due to having HIV.
  • Request for HIV testing to enter an educational institution.
  • Separation of students with HIV from educational institutions.
  • Attempts to eliminate parental rights and parental visits to parents with HIV.
  • Violation of the right to confidentiality of a person living with HIV in health, education or work environments, or in family and community circles, resulting in the social exclusion of persons living with HIV.

Violations of other rights that also affect quality of life can be added to the above, such as:

  • Lack of antiretroviral treatment provision, of medicines for opportunistic diseases, and follow-up for CD4 count and viral load tests.
  • Employer refusal to give medical permits to workers with HIV.

The comprehensive care clinic has a social work department that can refer you to institutions in the country that protect the rights of people with HIV. These institutions can also accompany the complaint process and set a precedent so that these actions are not repeated.

Have your rights been violated? Submit a complaint.


My obligations

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Rights also go hand in hand with obligations. Each country has established norms of coexistence and social rules that govern the behavior of citizens and must be complied with.

With regard to your health, the universal and specific rights and obligations of each country are applicable and must be respected.

  • Find out about the laws that exist in your country regarding protection and support for people living with the virus.
  • Remember that part of your responsibility is to inform your partner(s) that they should have an HIV test and, from then on, to be responsible for protecting yourself in your sexual relations.

DO NOT FORGET… as a person living with the virus, you should also respect all the clinic’s rules, the doctor´s requirements and care procedures at each clinic.

  • Make proper use of medicines, appointments, and laboratories, since they are the result of years of effort by many people to provide access to proper treatment for all who need it. This was not the case before and many people died since they did not have the opportunity of access to proper treatment.
  • Respect internal rules (appointment schedules, laboratory and medical check-up program dates). Also respect standards of coexistence regarding your behavior at the clinic.
  • Be responsible for your health by following the doctor´s indications and always using a condom whenever you have intercourse both for the sake of your health and for the health of others.
  • Be respectful with the health personnel, establishing healthy, close and assertive relations with all.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

My obligations

1. Where can I find out about existing HIV laws in my country?

In addition to the above link regarding HIV information and laws in your country, you can contact the social work staff of the comprehensive care clinic. They can inform you of places where you can get legal support.

2. Why is it important to know about my rights?

Knowing about your rights and the laws that protect you empowers you to demand respect at your workplace and at the social level, and it allows you to live a normal life with dignity.