Although precise data on migrants’ health is generally lacking
throughout Europe, many countries present strong evidence that migrants
are disproportionately affected by HIV. Their high infection rate
is due both to the epidemiological situation in their country of
origin and to the problems that migrants face in accessing information
and treatment for the virus in their host country.
Migrants living with HIV/AIDS suffer multiple forms of discrimination
and stigmatisation, including denial of entry, or refusal to renew
residence permits in some countries. The policies of several European
countries, which require obligatory HIV testing, or testing without
the consent of migrants, raise serious human rights concerns.
Migrants continue to face many barriers in accessing HIV prevention
and treatment. Social and language barriers result in lack of awareness
and stigma. Legal, administrative and financial barriers result
in delayed diagnosis, fear of seeking treatment and higher HIV-related
morbidity and mortality. Especially vulnerable subgroups of migrants
include women, men having sex with men, sex workers, undocumented
migrants and refugees.
Member States should adopt a human rights-based approach to
fighting HIV/AIDS: they should ensure that all migrants, including
undocumented migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, have full access
to affordable HIV treatment and care and to adapted prevention strategies.
Attention should be given to the notion of protection of seriously
ill foreigners in the context of expulsions. Where appropriate health
care is unavailable in the country to which the persons are to be
returned, they should not be expelled.