Recently the Minister of Health of Bolivia, Dr. Juan Carlos Calvimontes, made public during a press conference the HIV status of a Bolivian citizen. The man in question is a Constitutional Court Judge, who undergoes a lawsuit brought by the Bolivian government.
Mónica Oblitas, a Bolivian journalist published an article, which reads as follow: “(…) the Minister made this statement allegedly to decouple any liability of the government, in the event that this man’s health deteriorates, but eager to discredit this individual, which is really alarming coming from someone who has studied medicine, and is responsible for the health of our country”. The Minister of Health violated the article 9 of the HIV and AIDS Law. Furthermore, the Minister has also violated 045 Law against racism and all forms of discrimination.
The law for the prevention of HIV and AIDS and the protection of the rights of people with HIV in Bolivia establishes the right to privacy, and the right to reserve of identity and situation. Similarly, this law establishes that “people with HIV should not be subjected to publications in written press or TV, without their consent.
This situation affects the reputation of the Bolivian government. This violation of the Human Rights cannot be justified. Anyone, regardless of their political party or legal situation, must have access to HIV medication or any other infection, without having to renounce to any other rights, such as confidentiality, among others.
This is an example that the HIV should not be used as a political strategy. Bolivia needs better HIV policies that allow the improvement of this critical situation, instead of using the HIV to discredit its citizens.
After the press conference of the President Evo Morales, the Minister of Health acknowledged that he committed and “excess” and apologized “in a very sincere way”.
Eduardo Leon, the Constitutional Court Judge’s lawyer, filed a lawsuit against the Minister to claim a compensation of $10 million due to “serious civil, emotional and psychological damage to this client”.