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Do not disclose status of HIV/AIDS patients: HC to govt

Court had previously directed Central government to frame guidelines regarding non-disclosure of medical status of patients.

The directions were issued by the court of Justice Rajiv Shakdher on a plea filed by an HIV positive woman. She was publicly identified at GTB hospital in 2011, where she had been admitted for surgery.

The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre and the Delhi government to issue a circular restricting all hospitals under their jurisdiction to not publicly disclose the medical status of any patient, especially those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

The directions were issued by the court of Justice Rajiv Shakdher on a plea filed by an HIV positive woman. She was publicly identified at GTB hospital in 2011, where she had been admitted for a minor surgery. She alleged that a placard was displayed above her bed, declaring her medical status as “Sero Positive Bio Hazard”.

The woman had then filed a plea through advocate Ambalika Roy seeking compensation and framing of guidelines for protection of the identity and privacy of patients.

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During the hearing on Thursday, Justice Shakdher said disclosure of medical status or condition of a patient, especially those suffering from AIDS, meant that these persons were “treated as lepers”. He said it scared people away as there was a stigma attached to the ailment.

The court had previously directed the Central government to frame guidelines regarding non-disclosure of the medical status of patients.

The government has now informed the court that the process of framing the guidelines is “underway”.

As of now, the court directed the governments to issue a circular to all hospitals and also seek compliance reports from them to ensure that the directive is adhered to.

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