On December 22, 2020, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection issued an order of special significance, which guarantees people with HIV-positive status the adoption and guardianship right. It is now illegal to refuse a person to become a foster parent, guardian or caregiver on the grounds that they are living with HIV. This is an important victory in the process of eliminating discrimination in our society and ensuring the right of every person to a family, to a happy life, regardless of their HIV status.
“The policy pursued by the ministry is based on the principle of non-discrimination. No one should be discriminated against, regardless of status, gender or health conditions. Everyone has the right to health, education, family, and work. We must consolidate such a society in the Republic of Moldova. I thank the P.A. “Positive Initiative” team for their cooperation and joint work, as a result of which the rights of people with a positive HIV status are respected,” said Viorica Dumbraveanu, Minister of Health, Labor and Social Protection.
Who and how made this possible?
An assessment of a person’s possibility of adoption is carried out, among other things, on the basis of a medical certificate. Despite the fact that in 2013 Government Decree No. 512/2003 “On the approval of the List of medical contraindications for persons desiring to adopt children” was repealed and these criteria should no longer be an obstacle, a gap appeared in the legislation and practice reflected a completely unsatisfactory situation, without significant changes.
In 2020 P.A. “Positive Initiative”, together with partner organizations, within the framework of the regional #SoS_project actively implemented the REAct system in Moldova, which is an online tool for recording violations of the rights of key populations vulnerable to HIV and tuberculosis. During the year, there were 5 cases in the REAct system when HIV-positive people in Moldova were refused to adopt because of their HIV status. Also, the answers we received from the guardianship authorities of the municipalities of Chisinau, Balti and Cahul confirmed that HIV-positive status in practice is still considered a contraindication for adoption and HIV-positive people are still denied adoption and guardianship.
I am the guardian of a minor child. Due to illness (tuberculosis) I was sent for treatment. There are no close relatives – the child was taken to the orphanage. After discharge, there was a problem with the fact that I was denied further custody of the child due to a positive HIV status.
This led to a dialogue between representatives of P.A. “Positive Initiative” and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection in the framework of the National Campaign “Undetectable = Untransmittable” to combat the HIV / AIDS epidemic, as a result of which they came to the conclusion that the rights to adoption and guardianship should be guaranteed for HIV-positive people. Now this right has become a reality.
“This is a huge achievement, I am very pleased that the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection has approved this order. I hope and believe that as a result of this change, more children will grow up and be brought up in a family, and not in institutions and temporary accommodation centers,” said Andrei Lungu, P.A. “Positive Initiative”.
In 2020, 235 appeals were registered in the Republic of Moldova in connection with the violation of the rights of people living with HIV and members of risk groups.