Mexican Supreme Court Rules Expulsion of Five HIV-Positive Soldiers Unconstitutional
Mexico's Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the expulsion of five HIV-positive soldiers by the armed forces is unconstitutional, the AP/Charleston Daily Mail reports. According to the AP/Daily Mail, the ruling establishes a precedent that allows soldiers who were dismissed because of their HIV status to seek compensation in a federal court.
"Being HIV-positive does not in itself imply an inability to serve in the armed forces," the judges wrote in the opinion, adding, "Therefore it will be up to the military to determine, case by case, if the degree of effect on the soldier's health makes it impossible to remain in active service" (AP/Charleston Daily Mail, 9/25).
The Supreme Court in a separate case in March ruled 8-3 that a law used to discharge HIV-positive soldiers is unconstitutional and ordered the Ministry of Defense to re-enlist four expelled soldiers. Chief Justice Guillermo Ortiz Mayagoitia said a section of the law that provides for the expulsion of HIV-positive military personnel based on "uselessness" violates the "rules of equality" protected by the Mexican Constitution. The armed forces can discharge soldiers who have developed AIDS or who cannot complete their duties because of medical reasons, Mayagoitia's ruling said. Defense Ministry officials subsequently announced that they will re-enlist several HIV-positive soldiers. The Defense Ministry between 2000 and 2005 discharged 164 soldiers who tested positive for HIV (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/8).