Press Release

Persons living with HIV/AIDS often hide this information from others in their surroundings, fearing condemnation and rejection, which shows that our society still does not know enough about the ways of transmission and protection from HIV, said the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković, on the occasion of the World Day against HIV/AIDS, which is celebrated on December 1.

The Commissioner states that discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS occurs precisely when they reveal that they are living with the virus, which is confirmed by complaints that almost always refer to discrimination in healthcare institutions. It is paradoxical that it happens that medical workers in practice discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS, even though, thanks to modern treatments, it is a chronic disease with which people live normally, Janković points out. She stated that it is necessary to introduce continuous training of health workers to remove prejudices against people living with HIV/AIDS.

Janković reminded that the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality launched an initiative to amend Article 250 of the Criminal Code, which prescribes the criminal offense of transmitting HIV infection, although the preceding article of the same Law provides for sanctions for those who do not act according to regulations, decisions, or orders to suppress or prevent any infectious diseases. By groundlessly pointing out only one population of patients in the Criminal Code, namely, those who are HIV-positive, an obvious stigmatization and thus discrimination of these persons was made, the Commissioner concludes.

What is particularly worrying is that, according to the latest data, there is a slight increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases among young people, which confirms that the approach to education about sexual and reproductive health needs to be changed, states the Commissioner.

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