29/07/2012 - Guatemala

Good law, bad practice

In March the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Guatemala approved the Regulations for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and control of STIs and HIV by working closely with civil society organizations, but it is still not effectively implemented.

Resolución 57-2012 recientemente aprobada

OMES, organization member of RedTraSex, who celebrated at the time and was one of the protagonist organizations for issuing the new regulation, continues its work to apply the regulation, since its approval has not been properly informed.

"The Ministry of Health not disseminates the new regulations and many health centers and police departments continue requiring us the carnet", said Yanira Tobar, president of OMES, adding: "Hopefully the work we are doing outreach is well received and we already see changes, but this is the responsibility of the Government, to disseminate these kinds of changes in regulations".

The old norm “Regulations for the control of sexually transmitted diseases 342-86”, as its name suggests aimed at exercising vigilance against people living with HIV. For female sex workers in particular, regulation has 6 items. Among the most striking aspects is forcing female sex workers to carry a health carnet with all their personal data and the results of obligatory visits to the gynecologist. In the case where the police detected that the worker had missed her appointment, was authorized to take her by force.

"The new Regulation 57-2012 was an achievement of the society as a whole because it replaced the 1986 agreement that violated the right to confidentiality and that was against the AIDS Law in force in our country since 2000", said Yanira.

For drafting the new regulation, different sectors were invited: both governmental and nongovernmental, in an integrated manner they identified and prioritized the necessary changes to the old norm and worked side by side for another to replace it.

"For sex workers this really meant and means a big change in legislation. With the new regulations we are not obliged to make us a study every 8 days, nor should it be the police to check our visits to the doctor. We are not obliged to have health carnet for exercising sex work and it has been removed the age limit of 45 years to exercise it", explained happily the president of OMES.

Letter is written, now we need action from a democratic government to implement this initiative aimed at reversing years of exclusion and discrimination. We hope that it is not only a good intention.