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Assisted suicide

Nov 9, 2014

Swiss law is notoriously "liberal" on the matter of assisted suicide, giving access to it even to foreigners. Being about to start HIV treatment in the coming days and almost certain I won't go through it, I was wondering whether the sole facts that 1. HIV cannot be cured and that 2. you cannot bear the treatment are enough to get access to assisted suicide (the name of the association dealing with the applications is Dignitas). Do you know cases of people who got access to assisted suicide for on the aforementioned reasons?

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting your thought provoking questions.

Before thinking about assisted suicide, I should point out that while HIV can't currently be cured, today's medications should be extremely well tolerated, prevent disease/death, prevent transmission to others and should not impact your quality of life.

If you don't tolerate your first chosen medications, the next step isn't suicide, but rather a thoughtful conversation with your care provider. There are dozens of HIV medications, and everyone should be able to find a medication regimen that best works for them.

As for assisted suicide, there are municipalities where this is indeed legal, but this usually requires that the person has a terminal illness. With hundreds of persons in care, I don't know of one who hasn't yet found a well tolerated regimen, and therefore would be eligible for suicide.

I hope that helps, but do stay in touch if you have other questions. BY



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