SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
In prison, HIV/AIDS exacerbates existing problems and also creates new ones, yet the potential for far-reaching positive impact remains. Prisons are an intervention opportunity to reach a segment of the population, which is most likely to need government services related to HIV/AIDS and is also least likely to receive them through any other channel. Most people who end up in prison come from marginalised communities with limited access to health, education, and/or other sources of social welfare. For many of these people, their interaction with the criminal justice system will be their most extensive exposure to public services of any kind. Without an appropriate response to HIV/AIDS in prisons, the potential consequences will be increasingly tragic for both prisoners and the communities they represent.
The global AIDS epidemic is one of the greatest threats to security and development in the world. Millions of people in developing countries are dying of AIDS, TB and malaria – while the first world sits idly by. High prices of medicines, protected from competition by patent law, make it impossible for poor people to protect themselves against illness and death.
On 19 April 2001, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association of South Africa (PMA) and numerous multinationalbrand-name pharmaceutical companies abandoned their legal challenge to the Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act, 90 of 1997 (the Medicines AmendmentAct).
On April 23rd 1999 the Minister of Health published draft Regulations to add Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS) and AIDS related deaths to the Schedule of Notifiable conditions. If these Regulations become law all health professionals1 will be required to: