Tokyo Clinic Extends Hours for HIV
March 30, 2007
On Thursday, the Japanese Foundation for AIDS Prevention opened a clinic in its Tokyo office whose hours will allow patients to see a doctor without having to miss work. The Suidobashi Misakicho Clinic in Chiyoda Ward will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays 5-8 p.m., and Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. Staff are making plans for the clinic to be open every weeknight in the future.
The clinic accepts only those patients who have been treated at specialist hospitals for a certain period of time and who are in stable condition. It also accepts referrals for patients from their regular hospitals, which may in turn accept the patients if their condition worsen.
Suidobashi Misakicho Clinic is serving as a model for the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, which wants to start more evening and weekend clinics across the country. A ministry survey conducted in 2005 found 73 percent of 5,000 HIV patients were in the workforce.
Megumi Shimada of the AIDS Clinical Center of the International Medical Center of Japan said patients definitely place a high priority on treatment when they are first diagnosed, but an increasing number of them do not want to take off work every time they have to see a doctor. One HIV-positive male in his 30s said he regularly visits the doctor to manage his disease, though he wants "a way to visit the hospital without it having a major impact on my work."
Just a few hospitals currently provide evening and weekend hours for HIV/AIDS patients. The government is working to include the ministry's plan to create more flexible-hours clinics throughout Japan in its national budget.
Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo)