Belgium

National policy
National policy/strategy or official recommendations on HIV testing?Yes
National policy/strategy document
Who can administer HIV tests?
Restrictions on who can legally administer HIV tests?Yes
Which groups can legally do HIV testing?
  • Specialist clinic staff (doctor and/nurse) only
  • NGO with clinical supervision
Further commentsAt the moment an advice from the Health Council is under preparation which will give advice to also allow community workers to carry out an HIV test, provided that they are properly trained to make decentralised and demedicalised HIV testing feasible.
Free HIV testing
HIV testing free to all who want it?Yes in certain places
Further commentsCertain low-threshold sexual health centers (3 in the country, one in each region in Antwerp, Bruxelles and Liege.
Is free HIV testing available?Yes in certain places
Further comments

Low accessibility of the sexual health centers due to their region locations in Antwerp, Bruxelles and Liege

HIV testing restrictions
HIV testing access restricted for some groups/populations?No
Which groups are restricted
Further comments
Availability of testing in non-clinical settings
Is testing available in any of the following ways?
Postal HIV sampling legal?Yes
Home HIV testing legal?Yes
Community testing at NGOs legal?Yes
Community/outreach event testing legal?Yes
OtherAt universities done by Ex Aequo and SIDA'SOS
Rapid tests used by community based testing services/initiatives?Finger blood, Saliva
Anonymity/Confidentiality of HIV testing
Anonymous testing available?Yes
If yes, please give detailsOnly at the previously mentioned low threshold sexual health centers in Antwerp, Bruxelles and Liege
If not, why not, what sort of information is required and is there any promise of confidentiality?

At other sexual health service providers information about age, gender, nationality, social situation  and sexual behaviour will be recorded

Discrimination & equality
Legislation
Legislation protecting the rights of people with HIV?Yes
Further comments
Other key populations
Needle exchange available for people who inject drugs?Yes
Further comments

Availability of needle exchange is also confirmed by information available on https://www.hri.global/global-state-of-harm-reduction

Opiate substitution therapy available?Yes
Further comments

Availability of OST is also confirmed by information available on https://www.hri.global/global-state-of-harm-reduction

Are PWID (people who inject drugs) excluded from HIV treatment while actively using drugs?No
Further comments
Legal to sell sex?Yes
Further commentsSex-work is legal in certain areas, not everywhere.

For further information http://sexualrightsdatabase.org/map/21/Adult%20sex%20work/371/Belgium
Legal to buy sex?Yes
Further commentsSex-work is legal in certain areas, not everywhere.

For further information http://sexualrightsdatabase.org/map/21/Adult%20sex%20work/371/Belgium

Access to HIV Treatment
Free access to HIV treatment?Yes, for some
Further comments

Persons of undocumented legal status may have problems to access medication in some cases.

Status and access to HIV treatment and care in your country
Access to HIV treatment restricted for certain populations with HIV?Yes
Which groups are restricted?
  • Migrants
  • Persons of undocumented legal status may have problems to access medication in some cases (this can be decided on an individual basis, and is not only a problem for HIV medication, but also for other urgent medical care, and thus for more generally for people with acute or chronic diseased independent of their HIV status, if they don't have legal papers)
If more than one of the above populations selected, please give more information
Status
Country statusEU
Mobility in Europe
Do the following groups/populations have legal access to HIV treatment? (i.e provided on the same basis as citizens of the country)
Legal treatment access: Other EU migrant nationalsYes there is universal access
If yes but exceptions, please describe
Legal treatment access: general non-EU migrantsYes there is universal access
If yes but exceptions, please describe
Legal treatment access: Non-EU migrants with asylum/refugee statusYes there is universal access
If yes but exceptions, please describe
Legal treatment access: Non-EU migrants who are undocumentedYes but there are exceptions
If yes but exceptions, please describeIn Belgium HIV+ people of undocumented status used to get medication and even papers to remain in the country based on humanitarian grounds. More recently the policy has changed. The migration offices argue that HIV treatment is increasingly available in low-income countries and therefore they enforce sending patients without papers back to their home countries. It is not known accurate specific and up-to-date their evidence is on which they base their decisions, and in many cases it was shown that the information was not accurate. In addition, in these cases, continuity of care and treatment is often not granted (as people are sent home without medical files and little financial support to buy medications, if it is available at all). In these cases, clearly human rights principles are not respected. In addition, this has also implications on HIV testing and prevention: we promoted HIV testing based on the fact that universal treatment was available, which is not really the case any more for vulnerable populations like sub-Saharan African migrants. In such communities the word travels quickly, and prevention workers are losing their credibility and trust. Communities have begun to fear "the system": and thus people do not come forward for HIV testing and prevention.
Further comments
About this data
Last minor revision21 October 2016
Last major revision21 October 2016
Published19 January 2017
Data sourcesAs well as responses from in-country individuals and organisations information was taken from the following sources: http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/aids/Pages/monitoring-dublin-declaration.aspx
Sex Work Laws
These included  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_by_country#Europe
The Global Network of Sex Work Projects www.nswp.org and country sources and http://sexualrightsdatabase.org/map/21/Adult%20sex%20work and http://spl.ids.ac.uk/sexworklaw
Drug use
Needle exchange information was taken from Harm Reduction International who have an interactive tool https://www.hri.global/global-state-of-harm-reduction
Criminal Law
http://criminalisation.gnpplus.net has useful info about the criminal law and is searchable by country as well as http://www.hivjustice.net/site/countries/
MSM
http://ilga.org/what-we-do/state-sponsored-homophobia-report/ (2016)
Data contacts

Responses were received from SidAIDS Migrants Sireas, EX Aequo ASBL (www.exaequo.be) and Institute of Tropical Medicine (www.hivsam.be)

Barring The Way To Health - Update this information