High level of social distance towards people living with HIV/AIDS is still present in Serbia, and HIV-positive status is often the cause of various forms of discrimination, Commissioner for Protection Equality Brankica Janković pointed out on the occasion of December 1st, the World AIDS Day.
Among the most numerous complaints submitted to the Commissioner are those stating discrimination based on the ground of health condition, the Commissioner emphasized. In addition she reminded on the results of the situation testing conducted for more than 400 dental practices. The results showed that 63 practices had acted discriminatory against persons living with HIV.
Named acts of discrimination and the case of marking the HIV status in medical record (therapy list) in inappropriate and unlawful manner (that was unequally violating the right to privacy of the complainant who is person living with HIV) were followed by the recommendation of measures to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia in January 2015.
The Ministry has acted upon the recommendation and has sent instructions to all health care institutions to mark HIV status of the patient according to the regulations on keeping medical records.
Commissioner Jankovic added that stigmatization of persons living with HIV/AIDS is most often the result of prejudice and lack of knowledge about this disease. She concludes that it is very important to educate health workers in order to prevent discrimination and to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS are equal to all other patients in medical treatment.