December 7, 2022

HIV+ women in Namibia sterilised without consent

Three HIV-positive women in Namibia have been awarded damages after a court found that they had been sterilized without their consent.

Three HIV-positive women in Namibia have been awarded damages after a court found that they had been sterilized without their consent. The women had elected to have caesarean sections so as not to infect their child. But they were told that they could only have the operation if they agreed to have their tubes tied.

Judge Elton Hoff, of the Windhoeck High Court, found that the women had not given their consent, but he dismissed claims that they were sterilized because they were HIV-positive. The tubal ligations were carried out between 2004 and 2009. At 17%, Namibia has one of the world’s highest HIV prevalence rates among pregnant women.

“These three cases represent only the tip of the iceberg because numerous HIV positive women have come forward alleging they were similarly subjected to coerced sterilisation at public hospitals in Namibia,” said Nicole Fritz, the Executive Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. Namibia’s health department has denied that there was ever a policy of sterilising HIV-positive women. ~ StarAfrica.com, July 30; London Telegraph, July 30

Michael Cook
Creative commons
informed consent
Namibia
sterilization