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Pozitif-iz Association Published 2022 Rights Violations Annual Report

RECORD NOT IN RIGHTS AND EQUALITY BUT IN VIOLATIONS!

Since 2018, when Pozitif-iz Association started reporting on rights violations in the field of HIV, the number of applications and rights violations received by the Association has increased by more than 300 percent. The 3-fold increase in violations reveals that discrimination and stigmatization against people living with HIV have deepened.

Discrimination and rights violations against foreign nationals is almost one third of all violations!

Pozitif-iz Association reported the violations of rights that 271 applicants were subjected to among the applications received throughout 2022. Incoming applications were anonymized and used as data.


"Report on Violations of Rights of People Living with HIV" was prepared with the support of the European Union within the scope of Etkiniz Grant Program. The study includes legal evaluations and analyses.


RECORD RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN 2022


In the evaluation made by Pozitif-iz on the subject, an important point was emphasized; while approximately 8 percent of the applicants to the Association were subjected to rights violations in 2018, this rate increased to approximately 12 percent in 2019. Although a decrease in individual cases of violations was observed in 2020, the systematic prevention of access to the right to health within the scope of COVID-19 measures stood out as an institutional violation. In 2020, approximately 9 percent of people living with HIV who applied to Pozitif-iz were subjected to rights violations.


By 2021, the rate was about 14 percent. Finally, in 2022, there was a dramatic increase in the number of violations. The violation rate reached a record high of nearly 28 percent.


Since 2018, when Pozitif-iz Association started reporting on rights violations in the field of HIV, the number of applications and rights violations received by the Association has increased by more than 300 percent. The 3-fold increase in violations reveals that discrimination and stigmatization against people living with HIV have deepened.

ONE-THIRD OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ARE AGAINST FOREIGNERS LIVING WITH HIV


In addition to the problem of the Medical Informant System (MEDULA)*, which was also emphasized in the previous report on rights violations1 published in 2021, the Positif-iz Association draws attention to the fact that this year, the obstacles to the Right of Foreigners (or non-Turkish nationals) to Obtain Medicine and Benefit from Healthcare have increased and become a major problem, and that this situation may create a major public health problem in the upcoming period.


Intersectional discrimination and rights violations experienced by foreign nationals increased by 36 percent in 2022 compared to 2021. Of the 271 violations in 2022, 105 were committed by HIV-positive foreign nationals.


VIOLATIONS IN MULTIPLE AREAS

In 2022, the Positif-iz Association received a total of 271 applications for violation of rights. The violations of rights that these 271 applicants were subjected to were basically grouped into the following legal categories: "violations of rights based on legislation on the right to health, violations of rights based on legislation on the right to work, violations of rights based on military service legislation, violations of rights based on the law on the protection of personal data, violations of rights based on criminal law legislation, violations of rights based on family law legislation, violations of rights related to the right to travel-education-accommodation".


According to this categorization, 139 of the 271 applicants have violations of rights based on legislation on the right to health, 51 have violations of rights based on legislation on the right to work, 40 have violations of rights based on legislation on the protection of personal data, 15 have violations of rights based on criminal law legislation, 7 have violations of rights based on family law legislation, 5 have violations of rights based on military legislation and the remaining 14 have violations of rights based on the right to travel, education and accommodation.

In most of the categorized violations, several rights were violated together. These multiple violations were mostly violations of rights based on legislation on the right to health and violations of rights based on legislation on the right to work.


Of the 271 applications received, 101 were from Istanbul, 19 from Izmir, 11 from Ankara, 10 from Antalya, 7 from Adana, 6 from Kayseri, 5 from Gaziantep, 5 from Kocaeli, 10 from abroad, 34 from other provinces, and the remaining 53 applicants did not share their province of residence.


THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN TURKEY: FOREIGN NATIONALS LIVING WITH HIV CANNOT ACCESS TREATMENT


Pointing out that foreign nationals will become a major public health problem and that the obstacles to their access to treatment must be removed, Cihan Tuğcu, volunteer lawyer of Pozitif-iz Association, said: "Unlike previous years, the main framework of our rights violations report this year is "Foreigners and the General Health Insurance Problem". In 2022, discrimination and rights violations against foreign nationals are almost one third of all violations! The violations faced by foreign nationals living with HIV are often exacerbated by the fact that they are foreigners.


Within the framework of violations of the right to health, 105 of the applicants to the Pozitif-iz Association are foreign nationals. Pozitif-iz believes that the reason for the increase in violations in this field and the related increase in applications compared to previous years is that ART (HIV suppressing) treatment cannot be provided free of charge to foreigners and that there is an increase in cases due to the inability to keep infectious infections under control in general.


In 2022, the majority of the applications made to the Pozitif-iz Association consisted of complaints regarding the assumptions and convictions that foreign citizens were infected with HIV before the date of entry into the General Health Insurance (GSS) by the Social Security Institution (SGK) and that medicines and treatments were excluded from the scope of reimbursement for this reason.


In general, the most common area of violations was health. Discrimination and violations in the right to health constituted a significant part of the violations experienced by foreign nationals."


Pointing out that people living with HIV have equal rights with everyone else, Çiğdem Şimşek, founding member of Pozitif-iz Association, addressed people living with HIV with the following words; "Dear friends living with HIV... The rights violations you will read in this report may worry you. Do not forget that not every person living with HIV is exposed to these violations. Therefore, please do not worry about 'Will I also experience a violation of rights? It is important that you know and demand your rights in a possible situation. When you are subjected to a violation, Pozitif-iz Association is always with you through both peer support and legal counseling services. HIV is a medical condition and a manageable health condition. You have the same rights as everyone else. Contact us in a possible violation or before it occurs. Let's defend your rights together."


To access the full report is HERE



Reports on rights violations of previous years:


* What is the Medical Messenger (Medula) System?

Medula is defined as an electronic "prescription approval/provisioning system" between the SGK (Social Security Institution) and healthcare facilities.


Through the Medula system, all SGK-contracted hospitals, doctors including family and workplace physicians, inpatient ward nurses, report secretariats, pharmacists and their assistants can access information such as all diagnoses and diseases, medications used, and when and which institution was visited by entering the patient's ID number. In particular, people with HIV, Hepatitis or other infections, Psychiatric Diseases, Neurological Diseases have problems with the access to this system.

What is HIV and AIDS?


HIV is an infection that negatively affects the immune system when left untreated. AIDS is a clinical stage caused by HIV.


People who are diagnosed with HIV and start treatment can continue their natural life span as healthy as everyone else without reaching the AIDS stage.


In 2017, it was proven by all scientific authorities that HIV positive people on treatment cannot transmit HIV to another person through unprotected sex. This scientific revolution was announced all over the world with the slogan 'Undetectable=Untransmittable' (U=U). People living with HIV can work in any job they want, marry and have uninfected babies.


Who is Pozitif-iz Association?

Pozitif-iz is a non-governmental organization that aims to empower HIV positive people and their relatives physically, mentally and socially. In line with this purpose, it produces the support and counseling services they may need. In addition, it contributes to the reduction of prejudices against HIV and AIDS and the dissemination of up-to-date and accurate information on the subject in the society. In addition to evaluating HIV in terms of individual and public health, Pozitif-iz also considers HIV as a human right and carries out its activities within this framework.



We would like to thank Barış Ozan, a volunteer of Pozitif-iz Association, who translated the newsletter.


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