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Friday, 30 March, 2001, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
India HIV prisoner fights release
Aids treatment
The prisoner wants to stay in the jail hospital
By Ayanjit Sen in Delhi

An HIV positive patient in Delhi's Tihar jail has begun legal action against an apparent move to release him.

The man told the court that he would suffer harassment from his family and friends if he was set free.

Aids treatment
Prison authorities say they cannot pay for the prisoner's treatment
The 43-year-old patient was jailed on charges of robbery two years ago and is presently in the jail's hospital.

But last year the Delhi High Court ordered the release of prisoners jailed for smaller crimes like robbery and pickpocketing, including the patient.

The man appealed to the court against his proposed release, saying he would suffer discrimination if he left jail.

Discrimination

According to government records, there are at least 3.5 million people suffering from HIV/AIDS in India.

Pressure groups say the illness is still regarded as a curse by many Indians.

The patient told the BBC he has not been visited once during the last two years by his friends and relatives even though he has four brothers in the neighbouring state of Haryana.

The petition filed before the court says that he wants medical facilities even after he is released on bail.

But the jail authorities have already informed him that they will not be paying for his expenses once he is released.

Jail Superintendent S.G. Moorthy told the BBC that the prison authorities cannot take care of the person after he is released from prison.

Mr Moorthy said the costs of his medicine is expensive and beyond the reach of this patient - who used to work as a truck driver.

The case continues.

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See also:

30 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Asia's burgeoning Aids epidemic
15 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Aids explodes on trafficking routes
14 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
South-East Asia 'facing Aids crisis'
03 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Drug users fuel Aids explosion
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