The health minister has called for an investigation after an HIV-positive patient said she was refused treatment at a private clinic in Limassol for a head injury last weekend.
The incident, which has provoked strong reaction on social media and from various organisations, happened on Sunday when an accident at home forced the woman to visit the clinic. After being examined, she was told that she had a haematoma on her head.
“The woman had an external wound that required immediate suturing to stop the bleeding. When the woman revealed that she was HIV-positive, she was told that they could not treat her, and she was advised, in a degrading way, to go to the Larnaca hospital,” the president of the HIV/Aids support centre (Kyfa) Stella Michaelidou told the Cyprus Mail on Thursday.
The patient was told that it was Larnaca hospital “which accepts those people” Michaelidou added.
She described the clinic’s chief behaviour as unacceptable because he instructed the staff not to treat the patient.
“They asked the woman to wait four hours for a neurosurgeon to come and examine her. The reason they did this was to force her to leave the clinic. Eventually, a private doctor called by the patient’s family treated her,” Michaelidou said.
Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said on Thursday he has called for an investigation. He added that he would also visit Grigorios specialist HIV clinic in Larnaca in the coming days to inspect the facilities and record the problems HIV-positive patients face.
According to Michaelidou, the woman is now in good condition and has been discharged but has not yet decided whether to take legal action against the clinic in Limassol.
“I have sent official letters to the minister of health, to the competent house committees, to Oay and Okypy. We are waiting for the developments because it is unacceptable in a European country to treat people this way,” she said. “It seems inconceivable to me that the health care workers are not sufficiently informed about HIV and Aids. Especially in recent years with all the information campaigns.”