Botswana has to pay HIV treatment for foreigners

2014-08-23 07:10

Gaborone - Botswana's High Court on Friday ordered the government to provide treatment to HIV-positive foreign prisoners at the state's expense.

Justice Bengbame Sechele ruled that the denial of anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to foreign inmates violated their rights.

Two Zimbabwean prisoners had sued the government for refusing to provide them with free ARVs, while providing them at no cost to Botswana citizens.

The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/Aids (Bonela) had supported the challenge against government policy, saying it violated the prisoners' constitutional right to equality, dignity and non-discrimination.

The High Court agreed, rejecting the government's claim that it did not have adequate funds to provide non-citizen detainees with the treatment.

Bonela director Cindy Kelemi welcomed the ruling.

"The court affirmed that providing ARV treatment to all prisoners who need it is critical to effectively addressing HIV," she said.

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