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HOME >> MEDIA >> Parents try to bum alive HIV-positive son in Gujarat
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Parents try 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 official said.

    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.




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