NHS offers foreigners free treatment for HIV and AIDS

From the UK Telegraph.


Foreigners are to be offered free treatment for HIV on the NHS for the first time under controversial plans backed by ministers.

Those from abroad, including failed asylum seekers, students and tourists are currently barred from receiving free HIV treatment – unlike other infectious diseases.

However, the Government is to support proposals recommended by peers which will end the “anomaly” and allow free treatment even for those not legally settled in Britain.

[…]It typically costs up to £7,000 a year to treat someone diagnosed with HIV and an average of £300,000 per patient over their lifetime with the disease.

[…]The number of people being treated for HIV in this country has trebled over the past decade and almost 100,000 people are thought to now suffer from the disease. Only one in three people with HIV was born in the UK.

However, the infection rate in this country has doubled in the past decade – and the number of infections acquired within the UK exceeded those abroad in 2010 for the first time.

[…][T]he decision is expected to spark renewed concerns over so-called health tourism, which the NHS has recently taken steps to address.Entitlement to free NHS hospital treatment is based on a patient being “ordinarily resident” in the UK.

Anyone else is supposed to be charged for the full cost of any treatment they receive unless an exemption applies to the particular therapy.

Hospitals must take reasonable measures to recover any debt and most have overseas visitors’ managers to do this. However, last year it emerged that so-called “health tourists” have taken at least £35 million of free treatment over the past eight years.

The costs fall disproportionately on certain hospitals, particularly those close to Heathrow and other airports.

In a previous post, I pointed out that Britain is now broke. Shocking, but there it is.

6 thoughts on “NHS offers foreigners free treatment for HIV and AIDS”

  1. I used to work in an HIV clinic on the edge of London. We always treated anyone with HIV for free. Many were Africans on holiday, those waiting for asylum and I’m sure some were illegals. Documentation was never asked for. This is nothing new.


  2. A bit to add to the above. Normally resident in UK does not include people like myself, a retired ex-pat, although we should get free treatment for the first few years. This is disgusting as I paid into the system nearly all my working life. There are also some arrangements between countries, Ukrainians are treated under UK health system, Brits are treated under the Ukrainian healh system. I will add that Ukrainian in UK get the better deal. When my foster son broke his wrist while we were on holiday in UK (he was using my grandsons bike and went over the top) he was treated with no problems. However, I do agree about health tourism. Patients come in and are supposed to pay before they leave, most do a runner back to their own country asap.


    1. Thanks for providing this background information. I do think that it is each person’s responsibility to get insurance when traveling in case of things like broken wrists while on holiday. Then the NHS can treat them and bill the company that provided the insurance. I would even be OK with the NHS treating a broken wrist as a charity case. We have a lot of free emergency room care here in the USA.

      However a broken wrist is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than HIV/AIDS treatment, which is often the result of deliberate lifestyle choices. I’m sorry but I do think that people should be responsible for their own decisions, and then if we can afford to help them, we can. Or they can pay their own costs.


      1. you are pre-judging people with HIV. Of our first patients with HIV, (it was a new clinic) quite a few were women whose men had been promiscuous and picked it up then given it to the wife (there probably are some cases the other way round, but we didn’t have any in our clinic while I was there), we also had at least one man who, on his first weeks in UK had been mugged and because he had no money on him, he was stabbed with a dirty syringe.

        My neighbour over here contracted HIV from a contaminated blood transfusion (they don’t seem to test it here) and she died a few years ago as she couldn’t afford the treatment. She left behind two sons under five.

        Please don’t judge these people until you know the background. By the way, some people at the church I attended while working there kept telling me I should change my job because I was working with a load of perverts.


        1. Yes, the dirty syringe is an exception, but that is rare. Other than that, though, I think that the other two ways to spread HIV are sex and sharing drug needles. I am not trying to be an ogre, I just want to be clear that people do have an obligation to be sure of who they have sex with, which is why I think that it is important to have sex within the safety of a marriage, and to marry someone chaste, because they have a record of self-control. If not chaste, then just have them checked out by a doctor. Am I being too mean to insist that people be careful and take the responsibility for their own decisions? I do not want to discourage other people from their life plans and their marriage plans by siphoning money out of their pay checks to pay for other people’s choices.


          1. What abut the wives whose husbands infected them, they thought their husband were loyal to them. There is no such thing as being absolutely sure of the husbands purity. I know several ertwhile pastors who had affairs. I get many daily devotionals and in those often read of the person writing the devotional who knows fellow pastors how have come to them for counselling after having affairs. There was even a case in America of a pastor who murdered his wife because he wanted to marry his mistress, but didn’t want his church to know he was having an affair by divorcing his wife.

            What about the children who are infected in the womb from mother’s who didn’t now they were infected at the time. There is too much judgement on HIV,

            When we first came out here we were going to take in children with HIV and TB. We were discouraged from doing this as we are in a village and, it was thought that we would be isolated if we took in these children. Although anything like this is supposed to be between, doctor carer and patient over here it isn’t.

            I can give you an example. every time we take in a new child we have to have a full medical, including an HIV test. On at least one occasion my translator has gone ahead of us to tell the technition what blood tests we needed. The waiting area was packed. The woman came out and shouted at the top of her voice ‘Whose for the HIV test.’ As the three of us got up (myself, Len and the translator) to go in, everyone was squeezing against the walls to keep away from us. We knew we didn’t have HIV, and were trying not to laugh, but can you imagine what it would have been like for someone who wasn’t as sure.


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