Chile Silently Consents to the Sterilization of HIV-Positive Women During Labor

Nov 08, 2010 • Health, News

Chilean non-governmental organizations are leveling a case against the Chilean government for failing to protect HIV-positive women against forced sterilization. The Inter American Human Rights Commission in Washington will be deciding whether the Chilean government, which until now has been active in assisting those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, failed to protect the affected women.

Currently more than 80 percent of HIV-positive individuals in the country receive antiretrovirals and pregnant women are offered treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission; nevertheless, those with HIV continue to suffer mistreatment and discrimination, including forced sterilization.

The abuse is detailed in Dignity Denied: Violations of the Rights of HIV-Positive Women in Chilean Health Facilities, which was published last month by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights and Vivo Positivo, a Chilean non-governmental organization (NGO).

According to The Global Post, which reported on the story, coercive sterilization of women has been reported in other South and Latin American countries as well as Africa. In Chile, it has become the norm:

“Sterilization without consent or under coercion occurs with enough frequency and throughout the country to be considered systematic,” said Suzannah Phillips, primary author of the report, which included interviews with 27 HIV-positive women in five regions of Chile.

“It’s not an active government policy, but it is the result of government omission and not implementing its own guidelines.”

Information from The Global Post.