Response stories

Discrimination against pregnant women living with HIV in a maternity hospital

During the period February-May 2020, the REAct system recorded five cases of violations of the rights of pregnant women due to their positive HIV status. Four cases out of five were recorded in the same medical institution in *** in Moldova.

Anna *
Moldova, May 2020
” **.05.2020 woman at the 36th week of pregnancy was admitted to the obstetrics department of the Center for Maternal and Child Health of *** city. She was placed in solitary confinement because of her HIV-positive status. The paid ward was denied. It was forbidden to stay in contact with other women pregnant in the department, use the same bathroom. After giving birth, Anna and the child were staying in the birth operation room for more than two days, as the isolator was occupied. The staying in a common ward was rejected. During her entire stay in the obstetrics and gynecology department, she was treated with disrespect by junior nurses due to her HIV status.

*name changed

In documented cases, discriminatory manifestations were clearly visible during treatment of women living with HIV by junior medical staff due to the background of stigma towards people living with HIV.

Marina *
Moldova, March 2020
The woman was admitted to the maternity department of the Mother and Child Center in *** a few days before the expected birth. Due to her HIV-positive status, she was forcibly placed in solitary confinement. Throughout her stay at the Center, Marina heard reprimands from junior medical staff that, as she should not have children at all, she was forbidden to use the shared toilet and shower, and was forced to wipe the tiles on the walls if she touched them. The newborn was not properly examined because they were afraid to touch him to take tests. Marina and her child were discharged without having done all the necessary examinations and tests.

*name changed

All women who sought help from the REActor were referred to a friendly physician for the necessary postpartum examinations, which were not performed qualitatively in the maternity hospital.

Also, after the registration of four such cases of discrimination and humiliating treatment of HIV-positive women in the maternity hospital in *** city, local non-governmental organizations began to regularly monitor the situation in this medical institution. A meeting was held with management to inform them of the discriminatory practices that junior medical staff and obstetricians regularly exhibit against HIV-positive women. Representatives of NGOs warned that in case of re-detection of such incidents, a collective complaint would be filed with the Ministry of Health on behalf of NGOs.


The management of the medical institution took note of this information and held an explanatory talk with the participation of NGO representatives for the medical staff about the ways of HIV transmission, as well as about a non-discriminatory approach to HIV-positive patients.

Six months have passed since that conversation, and no more complaints have been received from patients at the facility, although REActors are actively monitoring the situation and interviewing HIV-positive pregnant women who are being screened at the facility.

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In 2020, 235 complaints of violations of the rights of people living with HIV, as well as representatives of at-risk groups, were registered in Moldova.

Related topics:

Analytical Annual Report 2020, Moldova