Are HIV positive asylum seekers an unfair burden on the NHS

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 17 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:171
  1. David R Chadwick, senior lecturer in infectious diseases (
  1. Department of Infection and Travel Medicine, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough

    The extra burden on the NHS is one of the issues cited in the controversy over the number of asylum seekers entering the United Kingdom. My specialty, which includes care of patients infected with HIV, has seen a considerable increase in the number of new diagnoses of HIV in patients who acquired the virus abroad, such that most new cases in the United Kingdom are now in this category. A major proportion of these patients are asylum seekers, largely from sub-Saharan Africa.

    Doctors treating asylum seekers are often required to support applications for exceptional leave to remain in this country, on the grounds that antiretroviral treatment is not widely available (or affordable) in their countries of origin. The growing realisation among doctors and politicians that a sizeable and increasing amount of resources is being taken up in the care of these patients has led to …

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