Health professionals have demanded that the insurance industry removes stigma on HIV/AIDS, Health Minister Julius Timothy has said.
Members of the insurance industry in the Caribbean and health care professionals met in Port of Spain, Trinidad this week to discuss how Caribbean health insurance companies can reduce discrimination against people living with HIV.
“Whenever you are going to take any insurance policy and they ask have you ever had or do you have AIDS? Once you say yes, then you are automatically not insured. We want that stigma removed from AIDS,” Timothy said, after the meeting.
He and other health care professionals have called for insurance companies to treat AIDS like any other of the CNCDs or chronic non communicable diseases. “You should not say no to someone who has had AIDS,” Timothy added.
The insurance and health forum was meant to build partnerships between the insurance industry and public health sectors, to enhance access of HIV victims to treatment. The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the Insurance Association of the Caribbean and the Pan Caribbean Business Coalition organized the forum.
Timothy said insurance companies will be monitored and it is hoped in the next few months they will start treating those living with HIV/AIDS fairly.