Published 15:22 November 30, 2015
Updated 15:22 November 30, 2015
December 1st is the world HIV day with several international organizations calling for a patient-centered approach to an infection that is affections millions worldwide; while attention is often focused on developing states – low and middle income countries – there EU member states that are facing a worsening challenge.
The epidemic is still widening, despite revolutionary advances in medicine.
A Greek human rights advocacy and support group, Act Up, suggests that a Greek Corporal was dismissed from the country’s Armed Forces on the basis of a recent legislative act that calls for the immediate dismissal of professional soldiers found to be HIV+.
For obvious reasons the name of the Corporal was not released. This is not a common practice around the world.
Other Armed Forces have policies for the support of men and women in uniform that contact HIV.
HIV is now regarded a treatable disease.
Currently, medicines can slow the growth of the virus or stop it from making copies of itself.
Although these drugs don’t eliminate the virus from the body, they keep the amount of virus in the blood low.
The amount of virus in the blood is called the viral load, and it can be measured by a test.
Nonetheless, the Greek law stipulates that it is impossible for an HIV+ professional soldier to respond to his or her duties.
In the medical assessment of the Corporal, it is stated that he is suffering from a “refractory” sickness (not yielding to treatment).
Similar discriminating legislation is not unknown in Greece.
The former Minister of Health, Andreas Loverdos, introduced legislation calling for the imprisonment of sex workers that were HIV+.
That law was annulled by the current administration, but new regulations call into question the human rights record of the current government.
All over the world, the armed forces are a high risk group. Specialists suggest that in peace time men in uniform are two to five time more likely to contract the disease in comparison to the general population.
In armed conflict situations, the armed forces are fifty times more likely to contract the disease as compared to the general population.