Civil society organizations Q-Club and JAZAS sent a proposal for amending the Criminal Code, which would de-criminalize unintentional transmission of HIV.
Within the legal reform carried out by the Ministry of Justice and Local Government, the civil society organizations Q-Club and JAZAS sent a proposal for amending the Criminal Code which would de-criminalize unintentional transmission of HIV, i.e. which would abolish criminal penalties for it, and replace them with non-criminal punishment.
Although the Criminal Code may play a limited role in seldom cases when people transmit HIV with malicious intent, we think that it is better to support and empower people living with HIV, from the very moment of establishing their diagnoses, so that even these seldom cases can be prevented. Instead of penalizing policy and criminal approach, HIV preventions needs a society based approach, where expertise and understanding of HIV will be of paramount importance. The existing criminal decrees relating specifically to HIV should be abolished in accordance with recommendations of UNAIDS.
Growing body of evidence shows that criminalization of not declaring own HIV status, and potential exposure to transmission risk, and exposure and unintentional transmission of HIV, did more damage than benefit for the public health and human rights. Better alternative for use of the criminal code are measurements for development of a supporting environment which would enable people to seek HIV testing, support and timely treatment, and feel free to declare their HIV status. The HIV pandemic is guided by the lack of diagnosing HIV infections, and not by people unaware of their HIV positive status. Nor our legal system nor our media are currently equipped well enough to deal with HIV related criminal proceedings, and the authorities should provide adequate training about HIV for the police, prosecutors, lawyers, judges, jury and the media.
Unprotected sexual relations bear many risks – both positive and negative – including the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. HIV is just one of many sexually transmitted diseases that can cause long-term damage. Singling HIV out with special legal decrees and criminal prosecution further stigmatizes people living with HIV and people affected with this illness.
Round table on development of the Anti-discrimination Strategy was organized by the Office for Human and Minority Rights of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in partnership with NGO Urban in, in Novi Pazar on November 2.
This round table is one of many organized by the Office for Human and Minority Rights of the Government of the Republic of Serbia as part of development of the Anti-discrimination Strategy. Speakers on this round table were Mr Dušan Ignjatović, director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights, Nenad Petkovic from the Q-Club, who presented the results of the work-group „discrimination of people based on their health status“, Vladimir Đurić, coordinator of the work-group „discrimination of religious groups“ and Aida Ćorović, director of Urban In.
The Strategy development process is expected to be finished early next year.
Strategy Meeting of the Network of Low HIV Prevalence Countries in Central and South East Europe - NeLP III - To develop a strategic action plan for effective HIV advocacy in Central and South East Europe took place in Belgrade from 11 to 14 October. The meeting was organised by Q-club – Centre for promotion of positive living and HERA – Association for health education and research, with the support of TACSO – Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organization and EATG – European ADIS Treatment Group.
On the opening ceremony the participants of the meeting were welcomed by Mr. Nenad Petković, on behalf of the Q-Club, Mr. Ninoslav Mladenović, on behalf of HERA, Mr. Darko Runić, on Behalf of the City of Belgrade and the Agency for European Integrations and Cooperation with the Civilian Sector, Mr. Sergej Vujačić, on behalf of TASCO, Mr. Ferenz Bagynszki, on behalf of EATG, and Mr. Andrej Senih, on behalf of the Steering Committee of NeLP.
The meeting brought together HIV activists, representatives of seventeen member countries of NeLP. During these three days the participants have developed a draft action plan for activities which NeLP, being a regional network, could implement to help improve HIV response, and support various activities in the member countries. The final plan should be finished by the end of November of this year and will be for the next five years.
The activities comprised in this draft were designed with special consideration the specific situations in countries with low prevalence of HIV. One of the key segments of successful and effective advocacy was influence of international organizations and networks, where NeLP will play a significant role.
The first issue of the regional HIV/AIDS magazine, HIV Bulletin HTB was published. The HIV Bulletin HTB is a free periodical reporting on the new and the most important medical research and developments in the field of HIV and similar conditions, as well as treatment access. The Bulletin covers Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. It is intended primarily for medical experts, but also for other professionals and people living with HIV, and also other people interested in the field of HIV. The main goal of publishing this bulletin is providing reliable information as a platform for access to better healthcare of people living with HIV in all the countries of the region.
HIV Bulleting HTB was a result of an initiative of Q-Club and International HIV Partnerships. Most of the Bulletin content was translated from the UK based magazine HIV Treatment Bulletin, with support of i-Base – the publisher of that magazine. The editorial board of the HIV Bulletin HTB is comprised of doctors, activists and people living with HIV from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.
The HIV Bulleting HTB was published as hardcopy, available in most healthcare institutions in the region, but can be subscribed to as well; as electronic PDF edition, that can be received via e-mail, or downloaded here link PDF eddotion; and as on-line eddition on the website: www.hiv-bilten.info.
Contact for subscription and comments is email@example.com. And feel free to contact us!
Publishing of the HIV Bulletin HTB for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia was financially supported by Gilead Sciences Europe and Merck Sharp & Dohme.
International seminar “Healthcare, legal and human rights” was organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia in Belgrade on September 28 2012 with the patronage of the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thorbjorn Jagland and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia.
The seminary was opened by the minister of health of Republic of Serbia, Prof. Dr. Slavica Djukic Dejanovic. As the priorities of the healthcare policy of the new cabinet of the Ministry of Health, she has declared: solidarity, focus on risk groups and chronic disease, particularly people living with HIV/AIDS. One of the problems of the healthcare system so far, minister Djukic Dejanovic presented the work of the public health institute – Batut, where the healthcare policies should be created, staffing needs met, required techniques applied, but that hasn’t been happening for years.
Along with the Minister of Health, and the Vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, the participants were welcomed by Dr. Dragan Delic, the President of the Health Council of Serbia, and the Director of the Clinic for Infectious and Tropic Diseases of the Clinic Center of Serbia. Several patient organizations took part in the seminary. Representatives of the Q-Club were Nada Micic and Bratislav Prokic.
The Secretary of State in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Perisa Simonovic, presented the draft of the new Patient Rights bill, which will soon be available on the website of the ministry. He called for a debate regarding further development of the bill.
Particularly interesting was the lecture of the Chairmen of the Ethics Committee of the Doctors’ Society of Serbia, Dr. Paja Momcilov. He spoke about rights of the patients, but also about rights of doctors. “The Doctor-Patient relationship must be based on trust, and without that any discussions on laws and rights are in vain.” Dr. Paja Momcilov presented the problem of unsuccessful reforms and lack of integration in our healthcare system – since it is divided into three separate and closed systems: military, public and private. His example of bad treatment were figures on mortality rates in cancer patients – the global trend is that 1/3 of cancer patients die, while the trend in Serbia is that only 1/3 of patients survives their treatment.