God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

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UNAIDS congratulates Mongolia for removing restrictions on entry, stay and residence for people living with HIV

The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) welcomes the recent law reforms in Mongolia that have removed all travel restrictions and other discriminatory provisions for people living with HIV. The reforms which were passed by Mongolia’s Parliament in mid-December of last year took effect on 15 January 2013.

The Law on Prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome removes all HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence. Foreigners applying for visas to Mongolia are no longer required to disclose or provide documentation of HIV status.

“I commend Mongolia for taking this bold step and I hope this will encourage other countries to follow their example and move the world towards zero HIV-related stigma and discrimination,” said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director.

UNAIDS advocates for the right to freedom of movement—regardless of HIV status. There is no evidence to suggest that restrictions on the entry, stay or residence of people living with HIV protect public health.

Mongolia’s reforms also removed employment restrictions that prevented people living with HIV from undertaking certain jobs, including in the food industry. The new law has also encouraged the creation of a multi-sectorial body comprised of government, civil society and private sector representatives to help put in place the reforms.

With the removal of Mongolia’s restrictions, UNAIDS counts 44 countries, territories, and areas that continue to impose some form of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV based on their HIV status. There are five countries with a complete ban on the entry and stay of people living with HIV and five more countries deny visas even for short-term stays. Nineteen countries deport individuals once their HIV-positive status is discovered.

 

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Politics and Society, , , , , , , , , ,

22.09.2009 more fundamental questions…

In the last days I described my stance on mandatory testing and the pre-testing counseling. Having now more time to dedicate my energy towards the HIV/AIDS portfolio, there are more topics I feel are necessary to persue in the coming months and years. I have spoken already about the need to end the stigmatization within the health sector itself.  On the political front I can forsee to look more intensive into the question of travel freedom of people living with the virus. The ban to visit certain countries or the ban to get a work permit if you are HIV positive as you can find it in Australia, Singapore and many other countries is not only a sign of a lack of maturity of politicians in the respective countries but also a clear violation of human rights. I am aware that the UN, but also the German “AIDS Hilfe” is dealing with the issue, but we should all join hands and start to pressurize political systems allowing such violations of dignity and human rights.
In some of the blogs I mention the work with HIV positive priests and religious as well as seminarians. This is indeed a very tricky question and I hope that in October, when I am in Rom to meet together with Joachim Franz with the papal council for health care workers, to get this council on board to have a hard look how we deal with HIV and AIDS in our own ranks. Is the refusal to take a HIV positive person into e.g. monkhood or a seminary not a sign of fear and immaturity of the church? Are we as a church really allowed to deal with infected people in refusing them to follow their vocation? I am sure that God does not mind the status of a person. So we also shouldn’t mind the HIV status of a person. What kind of AIDS policies are regulating the life of the church and their institutions? Do we advocate the acceptation of people living with the virus only for the area outside the church? Tough questions, but we owe it the greater love of God to check our own balances on those questions and see whether they add up.

The ethical question of ceasing treatment if somebody does not adhere at all – also a tricky question. I mentioned the criminal law as a tool of prevention, which I find absolutely unreasonable in the way it is administered in most countries, specially also here in Africa.

Those are some of the questions in my mind, where I would like to contribute towards a solution which ends the madness of stigmatization and discrimination, which forces governments and churches to act reasonable and always upholding the dignity and human rights of every person.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, Networking, Politics and Society, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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