India: Hospital evicts pregnant HIV-positive woman with "pills" to perform self-abortion Print E-mail
 September 1, 2006

HIV-positive Indian has to abort her own fetus


KOLKATA, India -- Health authorities in eastern India began a probe into reports Friday that an HIV-positive woman was forced to perform an abortion on herself after doctors refused help.

The 23-year-old woman was advised to have an abortion after testing positive for the deadly virus, but doctors at a state-run hospital in Kolkata refused to treat her because of her infection.

Medical staff at Kolkata Medical College left pills to induce an abortion by her bedside, said D. Pandey, a doctor at a nonprofit group who is the woman's neighbor.

"After taking the pills, she started bleeding and the fetus started coming out. She took it out with her own hands and even cleaned the bed," Pandey said.

The woman who had been six months pregnant was asked to leave the hospital immediately afterward, the doctor said.

People with the HIV virus that is carried in blood and other bodily fluids are sometimes denied access to hospitals and schools in India and face ostracism.

Surya Kant Misra, the health minister of West Bengal state of which Kolkata is the capital, ordered an inquiry into the report after the woman met him Thursday to complain about her treatment. Her name was kept confidential.

In May Geneva-based UNAIDS said that India had 5.7 million people living with HIV/Aids - the most in the world, ahead of South Africa where the figure stands at 5.5 million.

The Indian government, which uses a different methodology to calculate its figures, says that the country has 5.2 million people with HIV/Aids.