HIV-Positive Foreigners Getting a Rough Deal in South Africa
April 6, 2007
Medical workers in South Africa's public clinics and hospitals are discriminating against foreign HIV/AIDS patients, alleges HIV Clinicians' Society President Francois Venter. Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are being denied to refugees and asylum-seekers, he said during the recent debut of a publication concerning ARV treatment for foreign HIV/AIDS patients.
Venter said many health care workers view foreign HIV patients as short-term visitors for whom treatment efforts and overcoming cultural and language barriers would be wasted. Some medical practitioners believe infected foreigners come to the country because of the availability of ARVS, said Venter. "Myths are perpetuated by health care staff," he said.
Venter recommended the government develop specific treatment guidelines for foreign HIV/AIDS patients for use by government agencies and non-governmental organizations.
Health care professionals are "susceptible to the prejudices found in society," acknowledged Thami Mseleku, director-general of the health department. However, many medical workers do provide services to foreign patients, who are guaranteed health care under the constitution, said Mseleku.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
04.03.2007; Poppie Mphuthing
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.