Patients accuse health workers of revealing HIV status
Posted Saturday, March 23 2013 at 02:00
Kitgum patients have resorted to going to other districts for HIV/Aids related services.
Fearing alleged lack of confidentiality among medical workers in Kitgum District, patients are now opting to get health services in other districts.
The patients claim that medical workers in Kitgum are disclosing their status to the public and because of this, they travel to neighbouring districts and other regions, where they are not known by the medical workers, to get various HIV/Aids related services.
“In case of any HIV status or even any major medical examinations, I do not do it here (Kitgum). Medical workers here disclose your health status to their friends and Kitgum being a small town, your name is spread all over,” said Mr Frederick Okidi.
“It is humiliation to see that the people we hoped to seek help from are the ones disclosing our health issues to the public,” he added.
They accuse the female medical workers in the district for breaching the client-health worker confidentiality trust.
Recently, some disgruntled youths threatened to beat up a staff of a private clinic in Kitgum Town over allegations of disclosing information about their health status.
However, health officials in the district have dismissed the accusation as untrue, saying their staff respects the code of ethics on confidentiality.
The district health officer, Dr Alex Olwedo, attributed the claims to stigma, which he said was still affecting most people.
“The problem is that, we have not yet overcome stigma as a people,” he said.
“Those going outside the district to get HIV/Aids services just do not want to be discovered, and out of fear, they go to places where they think they are not known,” Dr Olwedo added.
Mr Thomas Ojok, a health official, said: “Most people still live in denial and do not want to be identified as persons living with HIV/Aids.”
The HIV/Aids prevalence rate in the district is 7.3 per cent.