Sad News in World AIDS Day

As the world commemorates World AIDS Day, several news indicate that all is not over in the battle against discrimination and denial of health care.

A group of HIV-positive women in Chile has come forward to claim they were forcibly sterilized after giving birth, even if their children are not HIV-positive.

A new report published by the Center for Reproductive Rights entitled “Dignity Denied: Violations of the Rights of HIV-Positive Women in Chilean Health Facilities” exposed the allegations made by 27 HIV-positive women living in Chile. According to the report, these women were routinely denied care, verbally abused, and pressured to agree to sterilization or even sterilized without their consent.

“We are not animals. We are human beings and we deserve some respect,” said one of the women during an interview in Al Jazeera English. Although her baby did not contract HIV, she claims she was told if she refused to be sterilized, the child would be given up for adoption.

Meanwhile, government health authorities in the Philippines have announced that Filipinos with HIV will not be given free antiretroviral medications by 2012, saying that foreign funding would be halted by that time. The country, which has experienced a sudden spike in new cases of HIV during the first ten months of 2010, only has an annual budget of US$1.48 million for HIV and AIDS. That amount could barely provide enough money to treat the 1,305 recently-reported HIV patients in the country, considering that ARV drugs are expensive.

Source: Huffington Post, ABS-CBN

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