The Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign has strongly condemned the malicious publication of confidential medical records of any person living with an infectious communicable disease.
TALC Country Director Felix Mwanza said whether the records published by some electronic media house on the health status of President Lungu are genuine or indeed false is immaterial.
Mr Mwanza said the paramount issue is that such publications violate the right to privacy and confidentiality which are protected by the Zambian Constitution.
‘These rights are also protected under medical ethical rule on confidentiality. Therefore any person’s HIV status may only be disclosed to a person or group if that patient consents to it being made known to that person,’ he said.
He said the published prescriptions make sad reading as testing and treatment of communicable diseases including HIV, STD’s and TB are necessary components of disease prevention and control which if coupled with stigma and discrimination of infected individuals easily become barriers to care and has been widely recognized to affect testing, access to care, and treatment.
The Zambianwatchdog recently published a copy of a prescription dated 2nd June 2014 for Edgar Lungu.The prescription contained the following drugs Zytiga, Abiraterone Acetate, Atripla 600mg, (Efravirenz 600) Calcitriol and Alpha D3 (0.5mg) for ESRD(End stage renal disease).Atripla is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from reproducing in your body.
TALC Country Director Felix Mwanza said stigma and discrimination can be strong disincentives for people to learn their health status, access medical care, and disclose their status to sex partners, family, friends, and medical providers. Additionally, such discrimination can lead to loss of employment and housing, estrangement from family and society, and increased risk of violence.
He said TALC calls on all Zambians to condemn stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV in order to promote and increase screening, testing, treatment, and prevention efforts.
‘Ending the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with communicable diseases is an important step to improving individual health and protecting the public’s health and begins by taking positive action to condemn malicious publication of people’s medical records without consent,’ Mr Mwanza said.
Approximately 1.1 million people are living with HIV infection with a national prevalence rate of HIV at 13.3%.