Petition update

Some progress in the Czech HIV criminalisation case, still way to go

European AIDS Treatment Group

Mar 8, 2016 — Here is a quick update from our colleagues in Prague on the development of this case: Some of the Czech media picked up on the open letter sent by EATG and published a second wave of articles about HIV criminalization. There was, however, no official reaction by the public health authorities or the Ministry of Health. A meeting between the head of the Prague Public Health Authority and treatment advocates was held. The authority initiated the case but, unfortunately, during our meeting they could not come to any agreement or consensus on how the criminal law should be applied to HIV in the future.
Czech colleagues are in touch with about one third of the thirty MSM who were reported to the police. In two cases, police have already closed the investigation as there was no lead to pursue. One case, one the other hand, has been transferred for further investigation; we shall see soon whether this case will be passed to the public prosecution office. We have no information about the remaining 20 or so cases.
Our friends from German AIDS-Hilfe sent info on STD testing and treatment options in the border regions that our clients could use in case they do not want to be diagnosed with an STD in the Czech Republic. Regrettably, we already have anecdotal evidence that some HIV positive MSM started self-treatment of what they saw a symptom of an STD without seeing any doctor.
On a positive note, we got support from a small group of Czech epidemiologists who sent a short paper to the Chief Public Health Officer and all members of the national HIV coordination committee and asked to stop the practice of criminalisation. A small working group has been launched to prepare a list of recommendations for the national HIV committee members on how to improve the national HIV strategy. Decriminalization will, obviously, be one of the top recommendations. We are also pushing for a joint ECDC/UNAIDS mission.


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