The Brazilian Penal Code explicitly criminalizes the transmission of HIV through sex (articles 129, 130, 131); through mother to baby transmission (article 131); and through blood or infected syringes or sharp instruments (articles 129, 131, 267 and 268).

This case study highlights how a local NGO can provide legal and referral services to support people living with HIV.

Gestos is a communication and human rights NGO in Pernambuco in the Northeast of Brazil. The increase in new cases of HIV in Pernambuco has also been accompanied by growing numbers of violations against the rights of people living with HIV. According to Kariana Lima, the head of the juridical work at Gestos, “people living with HIV are often discriminated against in Pernambuco, which promotes illness.”

Gestos provides free legal assistance for people living with HIV and supports cases in the key areas of:

1. Accessing basic medicines and ART at pharmacies, clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities

2. Challenging the discrimination experienced by people living with HIV in public health services

3. Improving the antenatal care received by women living with HIV

4. Promoting workplace policies that protect the rights of people living with HIV and challenging cases of discrimination in the workplace

5. Advocating for social security for people living with HIV such as benefits, housing allowance or other sources of income Gestos provides legal support for more than a hundred people each year.

To date more than 50 lawsuits annually have been brought before the court alleging violations of the rights of people living with HIV, with a success rate of about 70%. They also advocate for support outside the law and facilitate the establishment of self-help groups and other networks to promote the rights of people living with HIV.

Find out more

Visit Gestos website

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