HIV sufferers ‘must be treated’

By Sun Xiaobo Source:Global Times Published: 2012-11-22 23:50:05


An HIV-positive patient waits for treatment in Yunnan AIDS Care Center in Kunming. Photo: IC
An HIV-positive patient waits for treatment in Yunnan AIDS Care Center in Kunming. Photo: IC

The Ministry of Health urged medical organizations to ensure AIDS patients could receive medical treatment after a HIV carrier was reported Wednesday to have forged his medical records to access treatment after initially being denied an operation for his lung cancer.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang urged the Ministry of Health to guarantee AIDS patients' right to treatment while protecting the safety of medical personnel that treat the patients, the ministry announced on late Wednesday.

The Beijing News reported Wednesday that a 25-year-old Tianjin native was refused a lung cancer operation by Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital after he was found to be HIV positive.

He then visited the Ditan Hospital of Capital Medical University in Beijing. However, the hospital specializes in infectious diseases and thus did not have the capacity to perform the operation he needed. 

The young man then faked his medical records to hide his condition and was finally operated on by a hospital in Tianjin on November 12.

The Tianjin Municipal Bureau of Public Health said that a preliminary investigation showed the Cancer Institute and its staff would be held accountable for refusing to treat the man, the Tianjin municipal government said on Thursday.

"The carrier's family informed the medical personnel of his HIV infection instantly after the operation," Li Hu, the North China regional manager of the China Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS, was quoted by Beijing News as saying.

The Tianjin Municipal Bureau of Public Health confirmed that no personnel had been infected or operation theater contaminated during the operation. The bureau also reaffirmed that patients should inform the doctors of their illness.

Chinese law stipulates that all medical agencies must provide HIV/AIDS patients with medical services for non-AIDS diseases, but it does not specify a punishment should hospitals refuse.

"There should be a clear definition for discrimination against HIV carriers and what punishment this will result in," said Xia Donghua, a senior NGO expert.

"Governments should better promote knowledge about HIV/AIDS among the public," said Meng Lin, a coordinator for China Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS.

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