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Guangdong hospitals refuse to treat HIV burn victim (2)

(Global Times)

10:40, September 16, 2011

Pang Kun, a Shenzhen-based lawyer, is already prepared to help Deng.

"The most important issue now is to get Wang proper treatment," Pang told the Global Times. "It is ridiculous for a hospital to say bring your wife back in 20 days and we can offer you a discount."

Hospitals rejecting HIV carriers is nothing new in China, even for less serious issues such as appendicitis and hemorrhoids.

The International Labour Organization and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) jointly conducted a study on the matter in 2010 covering four HIV/AIDS designated hospitals, seven regular hospitals, 23 hospital staff and 103 HIV carriers.

In one case, they found that in the first three quarters of 2009, a regular hospital in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region refused to carry out surgeries on 15 of 21 HIV carriers.

Lü Fan, director at the AIDS Center of the CDC, said at the seminar that among 343 doctors or nurses polled in Hunan Province in 2010, 83.4 percent held that HIV carriers could only be treated in designated hospitals, and only 35.6 percent said they would not refuse to help such patients.

Zhang Ke, a physician at Beijing YouAn Hospital, a designated infectious disease hospital, told the Global Times that this behavior is motivated by a fear of infection.

"In Wang's case, her injured skin may have effused bodily fluids during treatment, which could be infectious. Regular hospitals could set up a separate room for Wang and bring in experts to help," Zhang said.

Lü said at the seminar in May that the government needs to improve HIV/AIDS prevention education to hospital staff to remove these irrational fears.

"This can be achieved by providing training on preventing exposure to virus during surgery, and by addressing such risks in the social security system for hospital staff," Lü said.

Meng Lin, with the China Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS, told the Worker's Daily that an inspection mechanism is needed to bring those refusing to treat HIV carriers to justice.

"Laws and regulations on the prevention and control of infectious diseases clearly state HIV carriers have the right to receive medical treatment, but apparently they are not well implemented," Meng said.

Pang Qi contributed to this story

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