In Greece, the policy for forced HIV testing introduced in May 2012 – to then be suspended – has been reinstated. Hundreds of women will face compulsory testing, and if found positive may have their names, details and photographs posted in the media to “protect public health”. This treatment was handed out to seventeen women found HIV positive, as well as being detained for months and branded “prostitutes” and “health bombs”.
This policy was reintroduced by Greece’s new health minister Adonis Georgiadis, previously a member of the far-right Popular Orthodox Rally. LBGT campaign group HOMOphonia- Thessaloniki Pride released a statement condemning these actions: “Public health is not protected by the castigation of people who are HIV positive, but through the implementation of integrated programmes against HIV/AIDS, through the introduction of sex education in schools, and regular public campaigns.”
Better2Know believes that HIV testing is a very personal experience, and may be one mixed with fear and uncertainty. People will be put off testing if there is any concern about being stigmatised, and may choose not to have the test at all. Forced HIV testing in this manner is not condoned by Better2Know and only serves to increase the fear many feel towards getting an HIV test. Nothing should stop you from taking responsibility for your health.