Honduras reforms 20 year-old omnibus HIV law eliminating mandatory testing and providing free healthcare

Finally, after months of hard work and activism, Honduras managed to approve the reform of 47 articles of the HIV Law, which helps people with HIV in the country. This reform seeks to guarantee the rights of people with HIV and/or AIDS and, thus, ensure a comprehensive response to the epidemic.

One of the most significant achievements of this reform is the 47th article, which establishes that “all people with HIV are exempted from payment of the recovery fee or any other fee for the provision of services”; an amount charged in different health centers to patients with HIV, which was causing people to abandon their treatment.

One of the most significant achievements was the modification of the article which established that people with HIV were not allowed to adopt any children or even worst were not allowed to get married. Massive HIV testing in detention centers and mandatory HIV testing for vulnerable groups were also eliminated.

This achievement marks a milestone in the respect for the rights of people with HIV, since it is the first time to reform this law, after 20 years of having been created. “It has been a struggle for many years to get the process started, and now it was approved in a short period of time, which is a great achievement. The project was introduced in May, 2014”, explained Sandra Zambrano, Executive Director of Asociación para una vida mejor para personas con y afectadas por el vih (APUVIMEH).

“The excitement is great, I’m really happy, we have won and it seems incredible that it has happened (…) This is only the beginning of many changes, and it motivates me to keep fighting. It has been difficult, we are a minority, but together we have succeeded and that means a lot”, said Luis Javier Tejada.

The reform will take effect once it is published in the official newspaper of Honduras named “Gazette”.

Undoubtedly, this success is the product of arduous teamwork that has been carried out thanks to organizations such as UNAIDS and the Pan American Health Organization, in conjunction with the Honduran civil society and other international organizations.