“Public health witch hunt” targets HIV+ men in Czech Republic

I’ve not had much time to post since the end of last year, but wanted to post briefly about this really disturbing story out of the Czech Republic. I first heard about this from a post on Tuesday by Edwin J Bernard at the HIV Justice Network’s website, and yesterday J. Lester Feder wrote an article for BuzzFeed that added some new details.

This quote from the BuzzFeed piece sums up the broad facts:

A public health department in the Czech Republic has launched criminal investigations against 30 HIV-positive men whom it alleges had unprotected sex in violation of the country’s laws that make it a crime to expose someone else to HIV.

There are no complainants in the case, nor any evidence anyone has contracted HIV from the 30 men under investigation. The sole evidence against the men is that they contracted other sexually transmitted infections (STI) — like gonorrhea or syphilis — after testing HIV-positive, which the health department contends is proof they had condomless sex in violation of the law.

The articles linked above explain what’s known about this situation. A number of civil society organisations are working to support HIV advocates in the Czech Republic and to encourage action from EU bodies. The European AIDS Treatment Group has started an online petition to the European Commission that you can sign if you’d like to show your support.

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