BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's health authorities on Friday issued a circular banning health institutions from denying medical treatment to the people living with HIV/AIDS.
In the circular, the Ministry of Health (MOH) ordered health authorities at all levels to take substantial measures to guarantee HIV/AIDS patients' rights to medical treatment as well as the safety of health professionals.
It said hospitals should offer appropriate medical care to an HIV/AIDS patient whose condition is discovered during the course of outpatient, inpatient and emergency treatments, as well as voluntary HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. Hospitals should not send them to another hospital or refuse to treat them.
Hospitals unable to offer necessary treatments should refer the patient to another designated hospital or ask local health authorities to arrange a referral, the MOH said.
If a patient's condition means that he or she can not be transferred, health authorities should designate doctors and nurses to perform medical services at the hospital where the patient has been admitted.
Furthermore, the circular said transgressors will face harsh punishments.
It was recently reported that Xiaofeng, the pseudonym of a 25-year-old lung cancer patient in Tianjin, was denied medical treatment after his HIV-positive status was detected. He eventually got the surgery he needed after concealing his condition.
Tianjin's municipal health bureau announced on Thursday that preliminary investigations show that Tianjin Cancer Hospital neglected its duties.
Vice Premier Li Keqiang also asked to guarantee the rights of people with HIV/AIDS to medical treatment, after he learned about the plight of Xiaofeng.
According to the MOH's official website, Li said that people with HIV/AIDS should not be discriminated against, and that work should be done to guarantee the safety of doctors and nurses treating HIV-positive patients.