Spain: Ministry of Health plans national database of HIV-positive people

Update: 9th October 2008.

The Constitutional Court has rejected an appeal by several Spanish HIV organisations against the Ministry of Health, which will go ahead with establishing a national HIV database.

Spain to establish a HIV register
Oct 9, 2008

Spain is to set up a registry of people affected with the HIV virus. It comes as the Constitutional Court has rejected an appeal against the Ministry for Health plan presented by several different Non-Governmental associations.

The register will contain files which will hold the latest diagnostic data on those infected. The authorities say the registry will help them to keep control of the real situation of the spread of the virus in Spain, but objectors claim that the project does not guarantee the anonymity of the people included.

It’s understood the files will be labelled with a combination of initials and birthplace to identify each case. Across the European Union, only Italy has a similar registry in existence.

Spanish Health Ministry Announces Plan To Determine Number of HIV Cases by 2015
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Kaiser Network

The Spanish Ministry of Health recently announced a new plan to determine the number of people living with HIV in the country and reduce the spread of the virus by 2015, El Pais reports. The plan replaces an earlier one that expired in 2005 and was not renewed, reflecting what some nongovernmental organizations say is the government’s lack of dedication to addressing HIV/AIDS.

Some HIV/AIDS advocacy groups say the new plan does little to address the disease in the country. Cesida, the largest confederation of NGOs involved in fighting HIV/AIDS in Spain, said the new plan “cannot be considered a plan of action.” Some NGOs are complaining that the plan’s goals are vaguely worded and that the time frame is too long. NGOs also have said that the plan places too much emphasis on those who are already HIV-positive, rather than on the general public, to combat the spread of the virus. In addition, some NGOs have said that the plan singles out high-risk groups, such as injection drug users and commercial sex workers, and does not mention specifically heterosexual men, who are the primary transmitters of the virus in the country, El Pais reports.

The plan also will establish a national database of HIV-positive people. Although NGOs support the health ministry’s efforts to determine the number of people in Spain living with HIV, they are opposed to the national database and are concerned it could become public knowledge and lead to discrimination against people living with the virus, El Pais reports (Benito, El Pais, 9/12).