Advocates Express Concern Over Brazilian State’s Proposed Law Requiring Identification of HIV-Positive People
Recent draft legislation that would require the state government in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to publish an online list of HIV-positive people has spurred concern among some HIV/AIDS advocates in the country, who contend that such action could be detrimental and discriminatory, London's Guardian reports. The draft bill, sponsored by member of parliament Jorge Babu, also proposes requiring that all HIV-positive people carry identification, saying that people who contract HIV "take on different characteristics to the rest (of society), requiring different treatment." Babu during his introduction of the bill said the measure would help protect medical workers from contracting HIV while administering treatment. "All professionals involved in attending (patients) have the constitutional right to know if they are treating an HIV-positive patient," the bill says.
According to William Amaral, a leading HIV/AIDS advocate in Brazil, identifying HIV-positive people could expose them to danger, including death threats or murder. "The bill puts people's lives at risk," Amaral said, adding that people with HIV sometimes are expelled from their homes. Roberto Pereira -- leader of an HIV/AIDS support group in Rio de Janeiro -- said that the "bill is misled and profoundly discriminatory." He added that it also "injures the basic principles of human rights." According to Pereira, Brazilian society cannot afford to ignore such "prejudiced" ideas (Phillips, Guardian, 5/1).