Number of African Immigrants Seeking HIV Treatment in U.K. ‘Explodes’
The Sunday Mirror this week examined the "explosion" of HIV-positive Africans immigrating to the United Kingdom. Of the 2,444 cases of HIV diagnosed last year in the United Kingdom, 1,735 of the individuals contracted HIV while in Africa. According to the Human Rights Act, undocumented immigrants can only receive non-emergency treatment from the National Health Service if they are applying for asylum. However, it is "easy" for immigrants to lie about their status and obtain free health services from NHS, the Mirror reports. Those who successfully gain asylum are entitled to NHS care, according to Dr. James Bingham of St. Thomas' in London. A spokesperson for the Department of Health said, "Giving free NHS treatment to people who are not eligible for it would send a clear message that the United Kingdom is the place to target for free treatment for HIV," but he added that the department had "no plans" to introduce mandatory HIV testing for immigrants and that HIV infection was not grounds to refuse entry to the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom spends more than $15 million annually on the treatment of the 10,060 HIV-positive Africans living there (Evans/McLaughlin, Sunday Mirror, 8/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.