Serious violation of human rights and medical confidentiality through the disclosure of data and photographs of an HIV positive female sex worker by the Greek Police.
Athens, April 30, 2012 - In an unprecedented stigma action, the Greek authorities publicized, through a press release by the Greek Police, the full details, photographs and medical record’s information of a 22 year old sex worker, from Russia.
The unprecedented racist initiative of the Greek authorities sparked a number of articles in the press and media reports naming and shaming the woman, publishing her personal data, stigmatising her, as well as every person wholives with HIV. This action is damaging the image of our country, after which it ceases to be a modern, well-governed and humane state.
The disastrous handling of the case both by the Greek Police and the Ministry of Health and KEELPNO violates any concept of human rights, challenging anynotion of human dignity and breeds a culture of discrimination not only against HIV-positive individuals, but against specific vulnerable groups such as migrants, women, prostitutes, etc.
On the issue of publicizing personal data and photos of the young HIV positive sex worker the following paragraph includes the rationale (argument) of Hellenic Police (and the “loud” consent of the “silent” KEELPNO!).
The disclosure of the identities and photographs, as well as criminal prosecution brought against her, is done to protect society and to facilitate the realization of the claim of the State for the punishment of these offenses. Also, for the disclosure of any further criminal acts, incitement to those who have already been contact with her to undergo medical examinations, and to prevent the panic that would cause to those who have come to contact with a person with similar characteristics.
Let’s see what they say in more details ...
A) "is intended to protect society." What part of “society” threaten this young girl? We can distinguish ourselves only one category. Customers of brothels and especially those who insist on having sex without a condom.
B) "and to facilitate the realization of the state's claim for the punishment of these offenses." This argument is suitable only as a topic for essay writing, since it includes all “realization”, “claim”, “state” and “punishment”. It sounds a bit complex and vengeful when all these combined. .While the connective "and" equates arbitrarily the interests of the state with these of society on the issue of disclosure.
C) "for the disclosure ... to commit ... any similar acts." "Similar acts" must be sought testimony and the possibility of a delay (and therefore the possibility that the duo Loverdos – Chrysohoides will not gain any pre-election credits) put –in hurry- the responsibility on the Russian!
D) "Incitement for those who have already been in contact with her to undergo medical examinations." In the spotlight again as "ignorant", "unsuspected", "innocent" clients of brothels!
E) "And to prevent the panic that would cause to those who have come to contact with a person with similar characteristics." Besides the fact that there would be no panic if the photographs were not made public, how is the panic prevented now that they were disclosed? Why is her name and surname relevant? Do customers of brothels ask for an ID when visit these places? Or do they ask for theirvaccination booklet and their regular medical examinations results, which in accordance with the law the prostitutes should have? On the other hand, if they pay extra to have unprotected sex, should they show the results of medical examinations that prove that they are free of any STD or HIV virus or Hepatitis B and C. Once again it is the customers of brothels we would like to address.
In line with the recent announcements by the Minister of Health, who statedthat the prostitutes themselves carry HIV in Greek houses ... It is worth to mention that to make such a transfer, beyond the "product", there should be a "bearer" too!
We would also like to note here that sex behaviour and safe way of sexual intercourse is something that concerns all participants in a sexual act and the burden of negligence around unprotected sex lies mainly on the clients of brothels, as it is well known that the requirement for not using means of protection is usually a prerequisite set by male clients to the female sex workers.
Instead of proceeding on effective education around issues of HIV / AIDS through sexual health and education programs, eg in schools, the Greek authorities chose once again the "easy", but very dangerous path of disclosure of personal data of a young woman .
All organizations signing this press release are calling upon the government to rectify and repair the damage caused by this action in the relations between Greek society and HIV-positive individuals. We demand also to stop the stigma and discrimination campaign against vulnerable people and to protect, in any way, the legality and human dignity.
Finally we state that in taking such an action, the state essentially dynamites any programs that are designed or implemented and are related to the voluntary testing of sex workers in order to prevent further infections and protect the public’s health. Programs that -when done correctly- are crucial to protect and helpstop the spread of the virus, unlike the witch hunt launched yesterday.
Positive Voice – People living with HIV
Center of Life
Day Centre “Babel”
Hellenic Centre for the right to Accommodation
Hellenic Centre to combat poverty
Greek Homosexual and Lesbian association
Greek Transgender Association
Homophonia – group to promote pride parade in Thessaloniki
Hellenic Observation Helsinki Agreement
Feminist Initiative against violence against women
Hellenic organization against drugs
Más info ( en griego e ingles)