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Criticism mounts of decision to reintroduce compulsory HIV testing

The decision by the health minister to reintroduce a measure that allows police to detain anyone for the purposes of compulsory HIV tests has been branded a “shocking development” by the London-based Greece Solidarity Campaign.

“The news that the health ministry of Greece is reintroducing the ministerial decree that led to the mandatory HIV tests is a shocking development. Clearly this decision is based on targeting many of those already marginalised and suffering from the results of the disastrous austerity policies, championed by the Greek government,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

Introduced last year by the then Pasok health minister Andreas Loverdos, health decree GY/39A 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 grounds of protecting public health.

The decree was overturned in May (pdf of order) by deputy health minister Fotini Skopouli, who subsequently resigned following Democratic Left’s withdrawal from government.

But in one of his first acts as minister, Adonis Georgiadis restored the decree (pdf of order), in an order signed on June 26 and published on the government’s electronic website Diavgeia on July 1. The decree will formally come back into force upon publication in the government gazette (FEK).

“Those targeted will include migrants, people who inject drugs and sex workers. It is also a gross infringement of human rights and is contrary to all EU human rights policies as well as all established public health policies across the EU,” the Greek Solidarity Campaign said….

(Read the full report on Eleftherotypia’s English website: http://www.enetenglish.gr/?i=news.en.home&id=1241)

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