Latest news

Press releases and statements about HIV and related topics

Failures of HIV treatment in Immigration Removal Centres are inexcusable

Monday, March 21, 2011

NAT responds to Medical Justice report 'Detained and Denied'

A new report from Medical Justice 'Detained and Denied' outlines 35 cases where people being detained in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) have not received the HIV treatment and care to which they are entitled. Failures of care include interruptions to medication (which risks seriously undermining the effectiveness of treatment), breaches of confidentiality and poor access to clinicians. 
There is a duty of care on the Government to those it detains - they are entitled to equivalent healthcare to that available in the community, particularly in relation to a serious life-threatening condition. Instead people with HIV continue to experience unacceptable instances of neglect. NAT worked with the British HIV Association (BHIVA - the professional association for HIV clinicians) to produce best practice advice on HIV treatment in IRCs precisely so that such failures would not occur. It is a disgrace that the advice is being ignored in so many cases.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), comments:
'NAT welcomes the important report from Medical Justice, 'Detained and Denied', on the treatment of people with HIV in immigration detention, and deplores the continuing failures in care. The NAT/BHIVA best practice advice is there to assist those responsible to provide equivalent high quality care to that available in the community - not to do so is inexcusable.
‘NAT has asked the UK Border Agency to work with us on a 12-month audit of every person with HIV who goes through the immigration detention process, to assess the quality of their care. We are still waiting for a response. The Medical Justice report underlines how urgent it is for such an audit to take place and concerted action to be implemented to address problems identified. We urge the Government to agree to the HIV audit as soon as possible.'

NAT call on the Government:

  • To investigate the breaches of care outlines in the Medical Justice report 'Detained and Denied’
  • In particular, to investigate the failures at Yarl's Wood and in advance of its conclusions and any remedial action to suspend immediately the detention of any person with HIV at Yarl's Wood IRC
  • To commission healthcare in IRCs centrally through the planned NHS Commissioning Board
  • To agree to the NAT request for a 12-month collaborative audit of all those with HIV going through the immigration detention estate

- Ends -

Notes to the editor:

The report from Medical Justice ‘Detained & Denied’ will be published on Tuesday 22nd March 2011
NAT's resource 'Dentention, Removal and People Living with HIV' can be downloaded here
For further information please contact:
Charli Scouller
Communications Manager
020 7814 6733

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.