Prejudice Kills not HIV

There are more and more HIV and AIDS cases and most in Hungarian society have great prejudice against HIV patients, and even health professionals show obvious signs of this. Hungary has had no AIDS strategy for 3 years.

Prejudice is the most serious problem

Although it is good news that HIV patients live a better life thanks to available therapy, they still suffer from prejudice especially when it comes to other minor health issues and when they use the national health system. The Equal Rights Office stated officially in March 2013 that the Central Stomatology Institute had violated equal rights when refusing treatment for HIV patients. In spite of this statement similar things keep happening to HIV patients.

Another aspect if this is how personal data is handled in National Healthcare /NH/ when it comes to HIV cases.  Theoretically and according to the Law, HIV cases are strictly confidential and reported without any personal identification.  In practice however, the National Epidemiology Centre uses TAJ codes to register people which is the complete opposite of how it should be.

The data protection ombudsman reported this false practice as early as 2010. However nothing has changed since.

AIDS Day and HIV testing

Even though it is common knowledge that early diagnosis and treatment is equally important for both the patient and society as it radically reduces the danger of new infections, there are not enough testing facilities and half the patients are diagnosed too late.

Despite the Law which gives equal rights to all who wish to have themselves tested anonymously, not enough people exercise this right due to fear of prejudice. Also, it is partly because these testing possibilities are not evenly spread out and so not easily available in the country.

Governmental Attitude

HIV strategy is totally missing from the Hungarian government’s programme. Having signed the Dublin Declaration Hungary agreed to start an AIDS Coordination Committee which should be responsible for managing the AIDS strategy countrywide. The Government first dissolved the Committee and only as late as 1st January 2013 created a new body named the National HIV/AIDS Council. Much, much later than that on 11th December this year shall this council hold its very first meeting.

So Hungary has been without an AIDS strategy since 2010. That is three long years.

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