According to ABIA, the withdrawal of Law Provision 198 that would legally define the transmission of HIV as a heinous crime, is a victory for the AIDS social movement in Brazil
On Thursday (August 31st) the processing of Law Draft Provision 198/2015 – that aimed at “defining as a heinous crime the transmission of HIV” – was finally stalled at the House of Representatives in Brasília. According to ABIA, this is a major victory for the Brazilian organized civil society, in particular for the AIDS social movement. The request for the draft law withdrawal was made by Federal Congressman Pompeo de Mattos (PDT – acronym for Workers Democratic Party) and now it means the end of its processing. After years of struggle against its approval, that has propelled health professionals, scientists and AIDS activists, the withdrawal is a victory against prejudice, discrimination and, most principally, is a response to the threats of regression that haunt the Brazilian HIV/AIDS response these days.
This struggle against PL 198 is also an example of how a collective political effort – inspired by solidarity and the conviction that public health responses must be based on human rights – can win over detrimental and stigmatizing initiatives, as the draft law provision in question. In 2015, as soon as the draft provision was tabled, ABIA and seventy other civil society organizations issued a Public Letter to the National Congress calling for PL 198 to be sent to the archives.
ABIA will remain attentive and active in what concerns other potential obstacles that may hamper an effective and solidary response to the challenges of the epidemics. This is so because, in our view, HIV/AIDS related stigma is still alive today as an ideological virus that infect many hearts and minds.
In this moment of celebration, we rejoin the many other voices involved in this struggle. Unity and solidarity are principles that will continue to guide our work.
Rio de Janeiro, August 31st 2017.
ABIA – Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association.