Advocacy groups for HIV/AIDS patients’ rights urged adherence to standard operating procedures for organ transplants yesterday after a recent case in which organs from an HIV-positive donor were given to five transplant recipients.
Members of the Taiwan Lourdes Association said the privacy of those affected by HIV/AIDS should be protected lest the public further stigmatize victims and that the incident had occurred because National Taiwan University Hospital did not rigorously follow standard procedures of checking test results before transplanting organs.
“The medical negligence is a fact,” the association said.
Some from the medical establishment questioned how a donor being monitored by the government could become a donor and said stipulations protecting the privacy of HIV/AIDS patients have hurt the rights of potential organ recipients.
The mother of the donor said she was unaware that her son had HIV, or she would never have agreed to allow him to be a donor.
Asked if HIV/AIDs patients should be flagged to prevent such incidents, the association said that “putting the responsibility of infection on the patients will not solve the root of the problem.”
The association and the People With HIV/AIDS Rights Advocacy Association of Taiwan said they had conducted an investigation and found between 10 percent and 40 percent of people with HIV/AIDS were denied surgical or dental treatment once their condition became known.
In addition, nearly 50 percent of carriers were reluctant to reveal their status to their families, the two groups said, mainly because they were worried about not being accepted or being ostracized.
The Taiwan Lourdes Association said the organ transplant incident shows that stereotypes surrounding HIV/AIDS still exist and that the recipients and their families now live in fear and anxiety, and will need trauma counseling and psychological treatment.