to burn alive HIV-positive son in Gujarat
Surat/Mumbai: In yet another case of
stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, a 17-yearold fisherman has
alleged that he was ostracised and beaten up by his parents who
tried to douse him with kerosene and set him ablaze two days ago.
His experience comes barely a few days after a Mulund couple who
had been diagnosed with HIV committed suicide after killing their
three children when they discovered that their daughter too had
been infected with the virus.
TOI had earlier reported about how the fisherman, Hari (name
changed), had been repatriated to India from Karachi after he was
diagnosed as being HIV-positive only to be allegedly ‘thrown out’
of a ward at KEM Hospital in May. Today, he regrets his freedom.
He alleges that he was shunned by his parents in the last two
months as they consider the HIV virus “a God’s curse on evil
souls’’. Two days ago, his father tried to set him ablaze after
spraying kerosene on him when he was sleeping in the night. But he
woke up just in time and saved himself.
“They don’t want me alive after they heard about my HIV status
in a Mumbai hospital. They do not give me food. My father comes
home drunk and beats me up,’’ said Hari who has fled his home in
Jamburi in Valsad and now lives on the streets of Vapi.
Jatin Desai of the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and
Democracy said, “The youth’s parents are more cruel than the
Pakistani jail authorities.We will try and provide him shelter in
Mumbai or elsewhere.’’ PAY FROM
OWN POCKET No health insurance cover for patients with HIV Viju B
I TNN Mumbai: This will come as a shocker for several
HIV/AIDS patients who need assistance for treating complications
arising out of the fatal disease. Their health insurance policies
will not provide them a cover in case of hospitalisation.
Insurers say there is no health insurance cover for HIV/AIDS and
if a patient is admitted to a hospital for medical complications
arising out of AIDS then he will have to settle the medical bills
from his pocket.
“Unlike abroad, where a person gets full insurance cover,
firms here shy away from giving cover to AIDS patients, fearing
that they will have to incur huge losses. This has put many
patients on the crossroads and they now have to depend on the
state-sponsored welfare schemes,’’ a senior official with the
state-run Mumbai AIDS Control Society said.
Health insurance officials say they reject many claims after
they come to know
that the policy holders had earlier hidden pre-existing diseases
like cancer, AIDS and congenital heart diseases. “But in the case
of AIDS, the patient is not eligible for cover even if he had
acquired the disease after taking the policy,’’ the official said.
Numerous cases are being fought in the consumer courts, where
the policy holders had concealed their pre-existing illnesses and
then made claims for hospitalisation. “In some cases, the
litigants said though they had acquired AIDS, they were being
treated for diseases other than HIVrelated complications,’’ the
But life insurance firm officials said if the family members
had taken a life insurance cover, then the surviving members are
eligible to claims even if the policy holder died due to AIDS.
“But the policy holders should have taken the insurance cover
before they had acquired the disease, only then the surviving
nominee members are eligible for compensation,’’ a Life Insurance
Corporation officials said.
Insurers also admit that the fast growing medical insurance
industry needs to be regulated as tracking the medical records of
patients is turning out to be a complicated affair. Last year, the
sector grew by around 30%. But only 1% of the total population of
the country has got heath insurance cover. “Abroad, citizens go
for regular annual medical checks-ups and the insurer comes to
know the medical status of the patients,’’ the official said.
PSU insurance firms dealing with medical insurance said they
incurred huge losses. “Unless the volume and premiums are
increased, the future is not very bright for the insurance
firms,’’ an official said.