Ombudsman warns that there are still complaints about discrimination against HIV/AIDS in access to pools

On the day of the Zero Discrimination, which is highlighted today, the Ombudsman, Maria Lúcia Amaral, draws attention to the fact that complaints about municipal swimming pools that condition access to people with HIV/AIDS continue to arrive.

As early as 2016, a complaint had been made on this subject, and the Ombudsman found that, for alleged public health reasons, a considerable number of regulations for the use of municipal swimming pools limited the access of users to the presentation of a medical statement proving the non-portability of contagious, infectious or transmissible diseases, which may prove to be inadequate and excessive in view of the aim pursued: protecting the health of others.

When the Medical Association was consulted, it was concluded that these were vague and unfounded demands or prohibitions. The expression referring specifically to people with HIV/AIDS was classified as clearly discriminatory and without any clinical basis.

At that time, the Ombudsman informed the National Association of Portuguese Municipalities (ANMP) of its position, requesting its disclosure to the Associated Municipalities, which had endorsed it in a significant number.

In December 2018, however, the Ombudsman received a similar complaint, and contacted ANMP again, in collaboration with this State body to evaluate the best strategy, to clarify that the conditioning of admission to swimming pools should be limited to presentation of medical examination proving the physical fitness of the practitioner.

With this appeal, the Ombudsman joins the United Nations-led global movement, which this year challenges institutions and citizens to act against laws that, when ill-informed, unfounded or prejudiced, produce discrimination, and subject people to undue restrictions on their life choices.