HIV patients might get life insurance
1 December 2003
AMSTERDAM — As World Aids Day was observed across the globe, insurance companies in the Netherlands have revealed they might soon allow HIV-positive people come into consideration for life insurance.
The Association of Insurers (Verbond van Verzekeraars) said it will make a decision next year, but a go-ahead for the proposal is not yet assured, Dutch associated press ANP reported.
“We have been talking for some years with organisations such as the Aids Fonds (Aids Fund), the Aids-vereniging (Aids Association), Aids-monitoring and the Ministry of health over a life insurance for this group of people. Successful new therapies have accelerated these conversations,” an insurance association spokesman said.
But the spokesman said there were still a lot of “ifs and buts” standing in the way of insurers agreeing on bringing a life insurance policy for HIV patients onto the market. He said it is also possible that the association might decide next year against the proposal.
Insurers demand an HIV test for policies above EUR 150,000 and such insurance is often necessary to obtain a home loan. There are between 16,000 and 23,000 HIV-positive people in the Netherlands, about half of which are unaware they are infected with the virus.
Swiss researchers recently pleaded in medical journal The Lancet for a life insurance policy for HIV patients. Insurers in France and Britain already offer such policies, but the Dutch insurance association spokesman said the premiums were impossibly high.
Meanwhile, research presented to the National Aids Congress in Amsterdam on Monday indicated that young gay and bisexual men are more frequently having unsafe sex compared with three years ago.
Conducted in co-operation with health authority GGD, research by the Schorerstichting — a gay and lesbian healthcare information centre — also indicated that young men are more often admitting that it is difficult to always have safe sex.
But there was no indication of “Aids optimism” among the 1,200 gay and bisexual men who participated in the second, nation-wide Monitor Research project.
Instead, the men are more aware of the dangers of Aids and HIV, the virus which causes Aids.
And the willingness to undergo tests is increasing, with the survey indicating that 54 percent of this year’s survey respondents have undergone an HIV test, compared with 42 percent in 2000. Over the same period, the number of men vaccinated against hepatitis has increased from 31 to 45 percent.
But the chairman of the HIV Vereniging (HIV Association), Martijn Verbrugge, said the Dutch fight against Aids was being undermined by Amsterdam health authority GG&GD, which sent 5,000 people away last year without testing them, despite the fact they complained of health problems.
He also accused Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk of driving HIV-positive asylum seekers into illegality, where they were no longer available for treatment and prevention.
About 40 million people around the world are infected with HIV and a report from the UNAids and the World Health Organisation last week warned that the disease was still spreading and that many countries were on the verge of fresh epidemics.
Three out of four people who die from Aids live in sub-Saharan South Africa, BBC reported and 95 percent of all Aids sufferers live in developing countries. China, India, Indonesia and Russia, meanwhile, are reporting increased infections, mostly due to HIV transmission through injecting drugs and unsafe sex.
As part of this year’s World Aids Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it hopes to supply 3 million HIV patients with vital drugs by 2005. The campaign will target those living in poor countries and USD 5.5 billion has been pledged to carry the project out.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news