Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Israel police investigate possible rape of two disabled women who been diagnosed with with HIV

From (via media Dis&dat):

Two people suffering from severe mental and physical disabilities have been infected with HIV virus in the residential facility where they live, and police are investigating the possibility that they were raped.

Parents of some of the facility's other residents are demanding that the two be removed, but both the facility's management and the Health and Social Affairs ministries have refused the request, saying they pose no danger to other residents.

The parents' demand will be discussed in court today. At the police's request, however, a gag order has been imposed on most details of the affair, lest publication impede their investigation.

The virus was discovered when a fungal lung infection typical of AIDS showed up on the chest X-ray of a female resident whose repeated illnesses had previously mystified doctors. A blood test confirmed the diagnosis.

The doctors believe that she was infected with the HIV virus around two years ago and came down with AIDS at least a year ago. When the facility reported the news to the Health Ministry, it initially suggested transferring all the residents to a health maintenance organization for testing.

"Imagine transporting 25 developmentally disabled people, some of whom cannot walk on their own, to an HMO," commented one person involved in the case.

However, one parent took his son to the Israel AIDS Task Force for testing, and that organization swiftly agreed to test all the residents. These tests revealed that another resident was carrying the virus, but had not yet come down with AIDS. The task force then convened all the parents to explain that the virus did not endanger their children.

However, not all the parents were convinced: Eight of them applied for a court order that would prevent the AIDS patient from returning to the facility and require the carrier to leave it. The parents of the former, however, wanted her returned to the facility once the hospital released her, and that wish was honored.

"Today, when AIDS is a treatable chronic disease, there is no reason why any of the residents should be infected via chance contact," explained Dr. Gideon Hirsch, the task force's executive director.

The Health and Social Affairs ministries, which have instructed the facility's staff about the necessary precautions, concur with this conclusion. So does the facility's director - who noted that even people with highly infectious diseases like hepatitis are not expelled from such institutions.