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Monday, July 22, 2024  
15 Muharram 1446  

Karachi Civil Hospital ends discrimination against HIV patients, trans people

A separate queue allowed for transgender people at the hospital
Transgender rights activists and their legal team pose for a photograph after the Sindh High Court’s hearing of petition on 7 June. PHOTO AAJ NEWS
Transgender rights activists and their legal team pose for a photograph after the Sindh High Court’s hearing of petition on 7 June. PHOTO AAJ NEWS

In a new ray of hope and through some added pressure from civil society, the Civil Hospital in Karachi has finally started treating a group of HIV-positive patients who had earlier filed a petition before the Sindh High Court.

Naseebo Jan, who works toward the prevention and treatment of HIV in the transgender community, highlighted the issue with Aaj News last week. Transgender activists also filed a petition and the Sindh High Court directed the hospital administration to start the treatment of such patients.

Naseebo Jan felt relieved when one of the biggest government hospitals in the city started accepting HIV-positive patients following court orders.

One of the petitioners who suffer from chronic kidney disease needs regular dialysis and blood transfusions. When she went to the hospital after the SHC’s order, she was prescribed medicine and underwent a few tests on the same day at the hospital. Although she was told to visit SIUT for blood transfusion and dialysis, the initial treatment was provided there.

A similar story was shared by another petitioner, who needed a ‘Total Hip Replacement’ surgery back in March and when she visited the hospital back then, medics rejected her saying that they don’t have the setup to treat HIV-positive patients.

However, when she visited the hospital last week after the court’s orders, the doctors prescribed various tests in order to make sure she is ready for the surgery. One of the required tests, an echocardiogram, is scheduled after two months.

The patient needs immediate surgery. Naseebo, who is helping the patient, wished Dr Greece Kumar, the Medical Superintendent of Civil Hospital, had responded to her phone calls, but he didn’t.

The third petitioner needs surgery for a hernia. Her tests are also done and she is now waiting for the surgery.

Naseebo told Aaj News on Saturday that the hospital has allowed a separate queue for transgender people. “When we used to go there in the past to get the receipt, we waited in men’s line. They would tell us to go to women’s line. And if we went to women’s line, they would tell us to go to men’s.”

She said the separate line for transgender people has made hospital visits a bit more convenient.

Civil Hospital Karachi was sued last week for discrimination against HIV-positive patients. The petition was filed before the court by three transgender people living with HIV who were denied treatment.

Transgender rights activists Shahzadi Rai and Hina Baloch were also signatories to the petition, while Sara Malkani was their lawyer.

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Civil hospital karachi

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