Mexican Supreme Court Rules Law That Allowed Armed Forces To Expel HIV-Positive Soldiers Unconstitutional
Mexico's Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 8-3 that a law used by the armed forces to discharge HIV-positive soldiers is unconstitutional and ordered the Ministry of Defense to re-employ four soldiers who were expelled, the AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports (AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2/28). The defense ministry between 2000 and 2005 discharged 164 soldiers who tested positive for HIV, EFE News Service reports (EFE News Service, 2/28). The case involves 11 military personnel who filed legal challenges to their expulsions from the armed services, Reuters AlertNet reports. Chief Justice Guillermo Ortiz Mayagoitia in the ruling said, "Everyone who viewed this law as unconstitutional has shown that it violates the rules of equality" protected in the Mexican Constitution (Gutierrez, Reuters AlertNet, 2/27). He said that the law's unconstitutionality lies in a section that provides for the expulsion of HIV-positive military personnel based on "uselessness." Mayagoitia added, "By presenting a medical certificate showing they are capable of working, the military personnel can remain in the armed forces" (EFE News Service, 2/28). The armed forces can discharge soldiers who have developed AIDS or who cannot complete their duties because of medical reasons, Mayagoitia's ruling said. A congressional committee has requested that the country's armed forces provide figures on the number of military personnel living with HIV/AIDS and how many have been discharged because of their status, the AP/Post-Intelligencer reports (AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2/28). Other than the four who will be reinstated, the cases of six additional personnel of the 11 who filed charges are scheduled to be reviewed on Thursday. Another has died, but his family will receive compensation, according to Reuters AlertNet (Reuters AlertNet, 2/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.