Hunting HIV-Positive Women in Greece as Parasites

Hunting HIV-Positive Women in Greece as Parasites

Pitsou Anastasia (The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8153-8.ch014


In this chapter, the authors discuss public policies of stigmatization and fascitization. In Greece, HIV-positive women have been imprisoned while their personal data have been published in newspapers and the social media aiming to inform citizens and to protect public health.
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The Persecution Of Hiv-Positive Women

In the framework of an intervention for epidemic surveillance in a prostitution house in Athens, the Hellenic Center of Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) has detected HIV-positive sex workers. Thus, the HCDCP announced the results of their investigation in order to inform and to protect people. Prior to the elections, state, physicians and police officers collected prostitutes and forced them to take an HIV test. Having arrested 32 HIV-positive women (28/4/2012), the attorney of the Athens First Instance Court ordered the disclosure of the prosecution as well as of their identities and photos. The HIV-positive women were imprisoned and the last five of them were released in March 2013.

On grounds pertaining to the protection of the community from contagious diseases, the personal data of HIV-positive women have been published in newspapers, the media, social media and the Internet, which is a major violation of the right to protect personal data. According to the Greek Constitution (Art 9(1)), “all persons have the right to be protected from the collection, processing and use, especially by electronic means, of their personal data, as specified by law” (Center for European Constitutional Law,2001, pp.22. The protection of personal data is ensured by an independent authority, which is established and operates as the law provides (Center for European Constitutional Law,2001, pp.22). Personal data concerns specific information on an individual such as their name, residence, bank accounts, salary and employment, while sensitive personal data refer to the “sensu stricto” of private life. This does not mean that the protection of personal data coincides with the protection of privacy (Mitrou, 2001, pp143). Particularly, sensitive personal data refer to religious and political beliefs, health and social welfare, sexual orientation, genetic data or past criminal convictions.

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