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Greece reinstates law to arrest people suspected of having HIV

Law also allows forced testing and eviction

Greek health minister Adonis Georgiadis Credit: adonisgeorgiadis.gr

Greece has reinstated a law allowing police to arrest anyone suspected of having HIV; to force HIV testing; to publicize the names of HIV-positive people; and to have them evicted from their homes “without any alternative being offered.” 

The law was used briefly to forcibly test and publicly humiliate hundreds of women in 2012 before it was repealed, reports HIV Plus Mag.

Language in the reinstated law seems to specifically target immigrants, homeless people, intravenous drug users and sex workers, according to the HIV Justice Network.

Health minister Adonis Georgiadis reissued Public Health Decree 39A earlier this month.

“The Greek Health Minister is clearly violating basic human rights and human dignity under the guise of ‘protecting the community from contagious diseases,’” said humanitarian group Doctors of the World in a statement.  

HIV rates in Greece have tripled since 2011, while austerity measures have cut disease prevention budgets. Increasing homelessness, joblessness and drug use have all added to panic over HIV.