Measure would reform law on HIV

The executive branch is supporting a proposal to reform the country’s laws involving HIV. Under the new legislation employers could not fire an employe or put the worker in another department because of HIV.

In addition, if a person transmits HIV to another person unknowingly, he or she will not be subject to the current criminal penalties.

The proposal, which already was in the legislature, was outlined Monday by Ana Helena Chacón, second vice president. She said there were 694 new cases of HIV last year, and 56 of these evolved into AIDS.

The prevalence of HIV in Costa Rica is about  three tenth of a percent, according to medical estimates. That suggests 9,800 infected persons, according to Casa Presidencial. The report also said that 83 percent of the cases are male.

María Elena López, the health minister, said that the proposed legislation prohibits discrimination due to sexual orientation, ethnicity, handicap or a medical condition or illness. The legislation is being studied in the Comisión de Derechos Humanos  of the legislature.

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