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Denial of Care for HIV+ Detainees 'Unacceptable,' Says AHF
Date:12/7/2007

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the heels of today's Human Rights Watch report descrying the treatment of HIV-positive immigrant detainees, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today criticized the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for its callous disregard for the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS in its care. The 71-page report "Chronic Indifference: HIV/AIDS Services for Immigrants Detained by the U.S.," chronicles the experiences of HIV-positive immigrants whose medical care has been denied or delayed while in U.S. custody, leading to serious medical consequences and even death. The conclusion of the report: DHS is failing to provide adequate care to the HIV-positive individuals in its charge.

"The grossly inadequate treatment of HIV-positive detainees in the government's care, as detailed in this report, shows a callous disregard for human life and is simply unacceptable," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "We commend Human Rights Watch for monitoring the treatment of immigrants living with HIV/AIDS in the government's custody and for bringing this important issue to light. Government-run institutions -- such as jails, prisons and detention centers -- have an obligation to provide medical care to those in their charge. We call on the Department of Homeland Security to take immediate steps to remedy the situation and ensure that, whether an individual remains in the U.S. or not, all persons in the government's care receive the lifesaving medical treatment they need."

"The consequences of being denied medicine for those living with HIV/AIDS can be dire," said Dr. Homayoon Khanlou, Chief of Medicine for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "If patients are not able to take their 'drug cocktail,' their immune system is not able to provide an adequate level of defense against pathogens. Off their medications, patients can quickly develop pneumonia, diarrhea, meningitis. They may
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SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
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