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European group: Czechs should not try HIV-infected men

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Prague, Feb 22 (CTK) – Prague sanitary officers’ having lodged recently a complaint against 30 HIV-infected men over unprotected sex and spread of venereal diseases is a violation of human rights that can harm prevention, the European network in support of HIV-positive people said on Monday.

The government should reconsider the case and have the investigation halted, the Czech AIDS Help Society (CSAP) said in an open letter passed to CTK.

The CSAP associates the organisations of HIV-positive people, doctors and scientists.

The group said by lodging the complaint the Prague sanitary officers had professionally failed.

Their step may enhance the stigma of the illness and deter the people from consulting doctors, it added.

Head of the Prague sanitary office Zdenka Jagrova told CTK previously that its staff had to inform the law-enforcement bodies if there was the infection of other people.

She said the sanitary officers had only announced the people who had not observed the legal rules and got infected with one to six venereal diseases in a single year, Jagrova.

CSAP head Robert Hejzak said the rising incidence of venereal diseases among the HIV-positive was due to their having sex only among themselves.

The CSAP also said they were seriously concerned about the steps taken by the Prague sanitary office.

The repression may be counter-productive, pushing the HIV-positive people into the underground, whereby public health may be threatened even more, it added.

Informing the police amounts to a gross violation of personal freedom, the CSAP said.

The CSAP said it wanted to turn to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and it had already informed the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) over the case.

Last year, the National Reference Laboratory for HIV/AIDS registered 266 new HIV-infected persons, a record high number in the Czech Republic. Most of them got infected during sexual intercourse. Most of them were men who had sex with other men.

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