People with HIV Have the Right to Not be Subjected to Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

The right not to be subjected to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or penalties should be addressed in several ways in the context of HIV in Cuba, for example in the treatment of prisoners who are sick.

The penalty of imprisonment should not provoke the loss of those rights or of dignity. In particular, the State, through the penal authorities, has the duty to care for prisoners. This implies the duty to protect the rights, life and health of all people in their custody.

Denying prisoners access to information, education and means of prevention (disinfectants, condoms and sterile injecting equipment) with respect to HIV / AIDS, voluntary testing and counseling, confidentiality and health care to HIV/AIDS and the ability to participate.

The National Directorate of Prisons in Cuba has recognized a total of six prisons for inmates with HIV/AIDS. Prisons that do not differentiate between the treatment of healthy prisoners and the prison population affected by this disease.

Inmates who commit dangerous acts, such as rape and sexual violence should be punished regardless of their HIV/AIDS status. There is no reason for the health or security authorities to justify mandatory HIV testing or to refuse prisoners living with HIV the chance to perform all the activities available to the rest of the prison population. The only justification for segregation of people living with HIV in the prison population would be the preservation of their own health.

The Cuban state should consider that prisoners with a terminal illness, including AIDS, be given early release and given proper treatment outside prison.

March 19 2012