MADRID, Dec 01, 2012 (AFP) - A petition against a rule banning people with HIV/AIDS from driving taxis in the Spanish capital has gathered 80,000 signatures ahead of World Aids Day on Saturday, activists said.
"This rule is an act of discrimination against those people, which is unacceptable in a modern and open society like Madrid's," the HIV/AIDS organisation Cesida said in the online petition.
It said it handed over the petition on Friday to the town hall, author of the regulation that bans people with "infectious or contagious" diseases from getting a taxi licence.
"HIV is a virus that is not contagious and is transmitted not casually but by very specific practices," but despite this it is on the list of diseases that rule a person out of getting a Madrid taxi licence, Cesida said.
Meanwhile as Spanish civil groups marked World Aids Day, they warned that public spending cuts imposed during the country's recession were threatening care for people with the illness.
Leading Spanish labour union UGT said in a statement that state funding for programmes to fight it had fallen by 70 percent between the budgets for 2011 and 2013, from 10 million to three million euros ($3.9 million).
It said one of the government's crisis reforms, the cutting of access to the public healthcare system for immigrants without a residency permit, was notably causing people with HIV/AIDS to miss out on treatment.
In a statement it warned of "interrupted treatment, lack of monitoring, denial of healthcare and medical prescriptions -- with the consequent danger to the life of foreigners without healthcare coverage who have HIV."