MPs want better healthcare for HIV patients

Lawmakers on Monday called for better healthcare coverage and care for HIV-positive persons, saying this group of people have faced especially tough times amid the coronavirus situation.

Annita Demetriou, an MP with the ruling Disy party, said the data show a slight increase in the number of persons infected with HIV – the virus that causes Aids – adding that “there is a struggle underway to protect them.”

One problem highlighted was these persons’ access to medicines during the coronavirus lockdown and the restrictions. Although arrangements were made with pharmacies, in many cases NGOs had to step in to ensure deliveries.

Meantime the Gregoriou clinic in Larnaca – offering treatment to HIV-positive people and to those who’ve developed Aids – is understaffed.

Also, the relevant prescription drugs are currently not registered with the national health scheme (Gesy). This should be corrected as soon as possible, but at the same time safeguarding these individuals’ personal data, Demetriou said.

Another issue discussed at the House human rights committee, concerned the policy of the state health services organisation (Okypy) to demand an HIV test as a condition for hiring.

This, MPs said, violated the principle that HIV-positive persons have the right to a normal life and to employment.

Legislators have contacted Okypy about this issue and are expecting answers.

On the plus side, a recently decided benefit given to HIV-positive persons has seen increased uptake. MPs also received assurances that the provision of this benefit would not impact any other assistance to these individuals.

Cyprus Mail