Human rights watchdog decries forced HIV tests

Human Rights Watch has accused the Greek government of violating people’s rights and stigmatizing vulnerable groups after it reintroduced a health regulation granting the police powers to detain people and force them to undertake tests for HIV and other infectious diseases.

The regulation was first introduced by Andreas Loverdos when he was health minister in April 2012 but was repealed a year later. Newly appointed Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis revived the regulation a day after taking up the job last week.

Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at HRW, said the move was “a big step backward for human rights and public health.” “Addressing infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis requires investing in health services, not calling the police.”

The regulation identifies drug users, sex workers and undocumented immigrants from certain countries as priorities for testing.

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