The European Court of Human Rights ruled March 10 that Russia violated the European Convention on Human Rights when it denied a residence permit to a man from Uzbekistan because he is HIV-positive.
The man is married to a Russian woman and they have a child together.
The ruling created European legal precedent in two ways: It recognized HIV-positive people as a distinct group whose fundamental rights are protected from discrimination, and it elevated HIV-positive people to the status of a "vulnerable group with a history of prejudice and stigmatisation."
Restrictions on the rights of vulnerable groups face the highest level of court scrutiny and are presumed to be illegal from the get-go.
The court said, "The mere presence of a HIV-positive individual in a country is not in itself a threat to public health."
Russia was found to have violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which concerns right to family life, and Article 14, which bans discrimination.
Last October, the Euro Court ruled against Russia in the matter of Moscow's ongoing bans of gay pride events.
The court found that the nation violated guarantees of the European Convention in the areas of freedom of assembly and association, right to an effective remedy and prohibition of discrimination.