Laws fail to protect HIV patients, says advocate

Published: August 3, 2011

PACIFIC political leaders have remained silent over the protection of the rights of people vulnerable to and affected with HIV, an organisation that champions AIDS awareness said.

The Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation said laws governing those infected with the virus failed to protect their privacy.

The existing legal frameworks condemned behaviour such as anal sex, sex between men, and sex work, the PIAF report launched by Minister for Women Doctor Jiko Luveni in Nadi last month said.

Such denunciation drives these practices underground, the PIAF said in a report that highlighted the plight of HIV positive women in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

"Public Health Acts also reflect mentalities of the colonial periods and these acts usually provide wide powers to public health authorities, impose heavy duties on infected people and others who must notify and take precautionary measures," the report pointed out.

The acts rarely gave privacy to people who are subject to these provisions, PIAF said.

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