In Dominican Republic people with kidney failure and hiv are not allow to receive hemodialysis treatment in public health centers. In this regard, at least two specialists in the nephrology field who were consulted said that in order to grant people with hiv access to hemodialysis, it is imperative to have hemodialysis equipment that is only used for the patients with hiv, a special booth only for them and staff to look after them.
This refusal to provide health care violates people with hiv’s rights and puts the country in reverse taking into consideration the vast progress that has taken place in Latin America and the Caribbean during the past years.
It is important to say that this negative to treat them is strictly based on stigma and discrimination because as an epidemiologist who prefers to remain anonymous said, the protocol is the same for all the patients, it is just necessary to take strict biosecurity measures.
Similarly, it is inconceivable that the alleged rejection of other patients is used as an excuse to limit the access of tens of people to health care. It is also inconceivable that there are patients wandering in hospitals looking for hemodialysis or that people die due to kidney failure.
According to Felipa García, directress of Alianza Solidaria para la Lucha Contra el sida (ASOLSIDA), despite the fact that there have been follow-ups to some isolated cases, the civil society organizations in charge of defending the rights of the people with hiv have not expressed their opinion and nobody that has been affected has filed a formal complaint.
As stated by the Sociedad Dominicana de Nefrología (Dominican Society of Nephrology) more than 300 out of every million people has kidney failure, analyzing these figures it is possible to say that almost one hundred people with hiv will need to be hemodialysed and they are being left aside. To be hemodialysed in a private health care facility is very costly. The price per session is US$134 approximately while the minimum salary is around $US 200.
Dominican Republic needs a coherent response to hiv and to use the resources it receives from many funding sources in order to eradicate the stigma and discrimination when it comes to access to health care so as to stop people from dying.