People living with HIV/Aids have trouble accessing treatment, while the only specialised clinic in the island operates with just one doctor, MPs heard on Monday.
During a discussion at the House human rights committee on the need to protect the rights of HIV positive people, relevant bodies were informed of the problems faced by the patients in Cyprus and received suggestions on how to mitigate these issues.
Deputy chairman of the committee Giorgos Koukoumas said Gregorios clinic at the Larnaca general hospital, which provides antiretroviral drugs to people with HIV/Aids, is understaffed.
He explained the health facility operates with one instead of two doctors, and that soon that doctor will retire.
“This clinic is currently understaffed to the extent that it cannot respond to the increased number of cases,” Disy MP Rita Superman said.
She explained the issue falls under the responsibilities of the health ministry and the state health services organisation (Okypy) “who were not present at today’s meeting”.
Representatives of people living with HIV/Aids said they still face discrimination and social exclusion. It was mentioned that many services request a certificate proving people do not suffer from these diseases during the recruitment process.
Among the issues highlighted, Superman said, was the “anachronistic” health ministry decree whereby foreign carriers of infectious diseases such as Aids are deported, based on which a third-country student was notified he would be deported last month.
The student was informed by a letter from the migration department on March 16 that he would be deported on March 21 on the grounds of “carrying an infectious disease”.
Following a public condemnation of the deportation order which was initiated by the Aids solidarity movement on March 26, the migration department said it would in the end be issuing a residence permit after a confirmation from the competent state medical services that the student was not contagious.
The condition of the permit is that the student receive regular health checks at the Gregorios Clinic.