South Korea: refusing checkup is discrimination against HIV carrier

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It is discrimination against HIV carriers for a healthcare center to refuse them a medical checkup, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) said. The rights watchdog advised the institution to educate its staff of human rights. According to the commission, Monday, an HIV positive patients made a temporary reservation in August 2017 for a medical checkup at the health examination center of a local university hospital, which was the region’s only institution designated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to provide medical consultations for people with HIV. He had been receiving treatment at the hospital’s infectious disease division since 2012.

 
However, the center turned down the person’s request to confirm the checkup, telling him to go to the gastroenterology division as an outpatient instead. He protested, and the center decided later to accept his reservation. But he submitted a petition with the NHRCK about the case. The center claimed it did not have the necessary protection equipment for staff and an assistant worker for the endoscopy machinery was a new employee who was not properly trained. The hospital claimed after the patient did not accept its offer, it was planning to obtain the necessary equipment so it could give him a checkup, and thus it was not a refusal of treatment. However, the commission said not having mandatory protection equipment and thus refusing to conduct medical examination means the center did not abide by the basic rule of infection control as a state-designated institution for HIV carriers.

“The medical checkup for an HIV carrier has to be run under the supervision of a specialist, so it is unfair to refuse the examination by citing the assistant worker’s inexperience,” it said. “The patient had told the institution about his HIV status when making the temporary reservation, but the center did not prepare any plan to help him and instead told the patient to seek an examination at another division. This is an act of discrimination against an HIV carrier,” it said.

 

By Kim Jae-heun

(Korea Times)

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