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Indian Doctors Refuse to Help HIV-positive Woman Deliver: Report

An Indian husband was forced to deliver his wife's baby after doctors refused to touch the HIV-positive woman, a report said Friday.

The husband told India's NDTV news channel he carried out the delivery as doctors at Meerut Medical College and Hospital in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh shouted instructions from a distance.

"They came but simply stood in a line and asked me to pull out the baby and cut the umbilical cord," said the 28-year-old man, described as a poor painter, in Meerut town, 65 kilometres (40 miles) from the Indian capital New Delhi.

The hospital "asked me to clean up all the blood and burn the waste," the man said.

"The doctors were not coming," his wife told NDTV, a day after the delivery of the couple's fourth child.

Hospital officials dismissed the couple's complaints when questioned by NDTV.

"How can I believe what he said?" said Abhilasha Gupta, head of the medical school's gynaecology department. "These days those who have HIV think they will get media sympathy by blaming others."

But officials from India's National Aids Control Organisation (NCAO) expressed shock at the report and said it would be investigated.

"In this particular case we have recommended stringent action against the doctors," NACO chief Sujatha Rao told the channel.

"Even if they were to touch contaminated blood, they are not in danger."

The report was the latest reminder of the discrimination suffered in India by those living with HIV and AIDS because of widespread lack of awareness about the illness.

HIV-positive children are often refused schooling and adults with the virus frequently face dismissal.

India, with a billion-plus population, has 5.7 million people infected with HIV -- the world's highest in absolute numbers.

However, officials said this month that under new data due to be released in early July, the number of HIV-positive could be as low as 3.4 million.


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