NEWS

Health minister reintroduces forced HIV testing

Detention and test measure brought back by Adonis Georgiadis

The brainchild of Pasok health minister Andreas Loverdos, the crackdown resulted in the detention and subsequent forced testing of women and the publication of their names, personal details and photographs in the media

georgiadis

Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis

A controversial measure that allows the police to detain people for the purpose of forced HIV tests has been reinstated by Adonis Georgiadis, in one of his first decisions as health minister.

The measure, introduced by Pasok health minister Andreas Loverdos shortly before the May 2012 general election, resulted in the round-up and subsequent forced testing of hundreds of women. The 17 found to be HIV positive had their names, personal details and photographs published in the media, on the groups of protecting public health.

The women, labelled as “prostitutes” (although there was no evidence that they were involved in sex work) and accused of being “health bombs”, were kept in jail for months until they were finally acquitted on the charge of “intended bodily injury”. The final five were released last March.

Human rights groups were intense in their criticism of the action, which was formerly suspended about a month ago by deputy health minister Fotini Skopouli, who subsequently resigned following Democratic Left’s withdrawal from government.

The reintroduction of the measure serves not to protect public health but to trample on human rights and violate medical confidentiality, the HOMOphonia-Thessaloniki Pride organisation said.

[…]

[Read the full report on Eleftherotypia’s English website: http://www.enetenglish.gr/?i=news.en.society&id=1236]

A new documentary, entitled Ruins: Chronicle of a HIV Witch-hunt, looks at the campaign as it was conducted in 2012. It features exclusive interviews with two of the women, two of their mothers, lawyers, journalists, doctors and activists, who campaigned for the women’s release.

Directed by Zoe Mavroudi, Ruins is in the final stages of editing and will be released in September. It is the first feature-length documentary produced by Radiobubble, a citizen journalism project in Athens.

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