Insufficient ground to revise the current voluntary reporting system:
Public outcry for mandatory reporting of HIV status of healthcare practitioners reflects still distinct HIV/AIDS-related social stigma
[For immediate release] 4th September, 2015
There are a number of local news reports published on 3rd and 4th September 2015 saying that there are 43 healthcare practitioners confirmed to be HIV-positive. The articles mainly focus on how the Hospital Authority’s ‘non-mandatory declaration’ of medical practitioners’ HIV status affects the rights of the patients, and that it might endanger the health of the patients as they are unable to review the list of doctors who are HIV-positive.
AIDS Concern believes that such social sentiment reflects the strong social stigma towards people living with HIV and HIV/AIDS. It could also be misleading and might lead to public panic to single out HIV as the only disease to be reported in the ‘declaration of health condition’ among other diseases such as Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C which also share similar routes of transmission as HIV/AIDS.
“There are people with HIV working in schools, hospitals, shops and businesses across HK, contributing to the life and economy of the city. Do we seriously expect all healthcare workers to wear a badge setting out all of their medical conditions? The raw fact is HIV cannot be passed on from one person to another through daily social contact. Infection requires that bodily fluid such as blood or semen passes into the body of another person. The likelihood of this happening in a healthcare setting is extremely low,” states Mr. Andrew Chidgey, Chief Executive of AIDS Concern.
AIDS Concern is of the view that compulsory reporting system is unnecessary as the current guidelines on standard precaution are sufficient to protect both the patients and the medical professionals. By maintaining confidentiality, health care workers are encouraged to come forward for proper counselling and management.
Furthermore, a supportive society is favourable for people to do HIV testing and get treatment in early stage. “The Hong Kong guidelines are in line with international standards. Requiring public disclosure of HIV status by healthcare workers would put Hong Kong out of step from modern healthcare standards. In addition, strong evidence abroad and in Hong Kong showed that the infected cases were rare,” points out Miss Mandy Cheung, Programme Director of AIDS Concern.
For media enquiries and details about the above press release, please kindly contact:
Miss Ingrid Tang, AIDS Concern Director of Communications and Advocacy
Tel.: 2898 4411 / 5436 4822
About AIDS Concern
“AIDS Concern” was established in 1990 as the first non-government charity organization committed to the service of AIDS-care and consultation in Hong Kong. Our vision is to create “TRIPLE ZERO” Hong Kong, this means ZERO new infections, ZERO stigma and ZERO AIDS deaths. AIDS Concern will lead social change by individuals, organisations and society to achieve TRIPLE ZERO, to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and eliminate stigma for people living with HIV.
Address: 17B, Block F, 3 Lok Man Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong
Tel: (852)2898 4411
Fax: (852)2505 1682