U.K. Home Office Immigration Decision Could Lead to Deportation of Hundreds of HIV-Positive People
A recent decision by the U.K. Home Office authorizes hundreds of HIV-positive people living in the country -- where they are receiving antiretroviral therapy -- to be deported to their home countries, London's Independent reports. A majority of the people who could be deported are from African countries that have high HIV prevalence and limited access to antiretroviral drugs, according to the Independent. "We're seeing appalling hypocrisy from the government," Ruth Bundey, an attorney representing several HIV-positive people, said, adding, "On the one hand, it is extending monetary aid to Africa to help 'make poverty history.' Simultaneously though, it is throwing out individuals who have no hope of medical treatment in their home countries and are therefore being sent home to die." A group of attorneys and not-for-profit group representatives recently met with U.K. immigration minister Tony McNulty to ask that none of the HIV-positive people be deported. McNulty said that such an exception would "seem unfair to those suffering from other serious medical conditions, both physical and mental." However, his spokesperson on Thursday said the minister is "looking into" the issue. Lisa Power, head of policy for the HIV/AIDS advocacy group Terrence Higgins Trust, said that if the HIV-positive people were allowed to stay in the United Kingdom for five years, they might then be able to return home because widespread access to antiretroviral treatments should be available in Africa by then (Morris/Brown, Independent, 5/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.