Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Equality of opportunity committee

The Royal College of Nursing has called for an increase in the number of specialist nurses working with HIV patients.

Giving evidence to the equality of opportunity committee on 1 December 2009, Martin Semple, Head of Institute RCN Wales, said that the nursing profession must do more to ensure that the services they provide are sensitive to these patients' needs.

He added that it makes no difference whether the stigma and discrimination that is felt is real or perceived.

Mr Semple also said that a paper in a nursing journal gave a number of examples of health professionals with HIV who had suffered discrimination in the workplace themselves.

The equality of opportunity committee were gathering evidence for their inquiry into discrimination against people living with HIV by healthcare professionals and providers.

Health Minister Edwina Hart was also present to give evidence to the committee and said that more training was required for health professionals.

In her written evidence, the minister stressed the lack of evidence of formal complaints suggesting that people living with HIV are being discriminated against by healthcare professionals and providers.

However she did not discount that discrimination has been experienced.

The latest HIV-related figures released in November 2008 showed that there were 1,600 oeople in Wales diagnosed with the infection.

Ms Hart, representatives from the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives and Cardiff University School of Medicine were all giving evidence to the committee.

Equality of Opportunity Committee membership

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