National Aids Trust: Make HIV treatment free for failed claimants

The National Aids Trust has called for free HIV treatment to be made available to failed asylum seekers in a guide for professionals launched today.

Under government regulations, asylum seekers whose claims fail while they are receiving NHS care for a particular condition can continue to receive it for free. Yet failed asylum seekers who then try and access care must pay, including for HIV services.

The trust said charges had “significant implications” both for asylum seekers with HIV and public health in the UK.

Its call comes after a judge ruled that government regulations to bar failed asylum seekers who cannot return to their home countries from free care were unlawful. However, the government is set to press ahead with plans to force GPs to charge failed claimants for primary care.

The charity also warned that asylum seekers were being subject to “enforced destitution” and that the removal process for those barred from the UK could fatally undermine the health of someone living with HIV. It also called for all staff working with asylum seekers to have basic HIV knowledge and training.

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