A British holidaymaker was allegedly thrown out of his hotel room and his bedsheets burned because he is HIV positive.
The middle-aged man was rushed to a medical clinic in the coastal resort of Paphos in Cyprus earlier this month after he fell over.
Before treatment, he informed the clinic’s staff that he was HIV positive and his injuries were tended to.
However, upon returning to his hotel, the man was reportedly told was no longer a guest and had to leave immediately.
The news that the man – who has not been identified – was living with HIV soon spread around the area.
He preceded to be turned away from several other hotels and even denied treatment at other private clinics.
After failing to receive the necessary medication for nearly a week, he returned to the UK.
“He was in fear, in shock, and he was also feeling dizzy,” Stella Michaelidou – head of the HIV/AIDS Support Centre – told the Daily Mail.
“A doctor from the clinic called the hotel where the injured man was staying and informed them of his condition. This is a breach of medical confidentiality. It is strictly forbidden.”
“The clinic informed the hotel to burn the sheets and the bedspread and to disinfect the room.”
“It’s like in the 80s before we knew what HIV was,” she added.
“You may [expect to] find this ignorance in an ordinary person, but in a doctor?”
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Sadly, islanders say bigotry in the area is not uncommon, with HIV patients often finding themselves ostracised.
The island’s commissioner for administration and human rights, Eliza Savvidou, said a denial of medical care and breach of patient confidentiality were the human rights violations most frequently reported by people living with HIV.
“Unfortunately, the elements of the case reveal the deeply rooted, widespread and extremely persistent prejudices surrounding the issue of HIV/AIDS and are based on ignorance and lack of information, even by health professionals,” she said in a statement.
“Observing medical confidentiality and providing care without discrimination is a fundamental duty of every health professional and administrative staff members at healthcare providers, both public and private.
“Moreover, respect for human rights of HIV carriers is a basic obligation of the state as a whole,” she added.
The health ministry and medical association have both launched investigations into the incident.
Earlier this year, hundreds of people marched through the streets of the country’s capital Nicosia, to mark its second annual Pride celebrations.
The event drew huge crowds, with many LGBT people and supporters marching in support of greater rights in the country.
Homosexuality was only legalised in Cyprus in 1998, with plans for civil partnerships recently gaining approval.