Human Rights Watch released a report on July 4, condemning the use of mandatory health examinations, isolation, and compulsory treatment in Greece, which has been reinstated into law on July 26, upon reappointment of Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis.
Health Regulation No. GY/39A, “Amendments that Concern the Restriction of Transmission of Infectious Diseases,” permits police to detain people without due process for the testing of HIV and other diseases of public health importance, focusing on certain priority groups, including anyone suspected of being a sex worker, intravenous drug users, undocumented migrants, and anyone living without “minimum standards” of hygiene, such as the homeless.
Since the bill was first introduced in April 2012, until April of this year when it was temporarily repealed, dozens of women suspected of being sex workers were forced to take HIV tests. When found positive, they were charged with the felony of “intentional grievous bodily harm,” or “attempted bodily harm” for having unprotected sex with customers. The police and media published their photographs, HIV status, and personal information, and detained many of these women for months while they awaited trial. In March 2013, almost a full year after the crackdown, the last five of these women were acquitted by the courts, which found “no strong evidence” for charges of intentional harm.