Serbia HIV Sufferers Buried In Plastic Bags In 2019

The family of a man who was buried naked in a plastic bag because he had HIV has slammed Serbia’s treatment of sufferers of the virus.

In 2016, the Serbian Ministry of Health stipulated that HIV positive people should be buried in the same way as those suffering from easily transmitted and severe infectious diseases like cholera, Ebola and Plague.

However, citizens and organisations are now calling for the regulations to be changed in the face of HIV sufferers being buried naked in plastic bags.

The family of a man named in media as S.V. have slammed the policy after his death. The family HIV positive man were informed by the undertaker that he would be buried naked in a black plastic bag.

The family say the nature of his burial was more shocking and disturbing than his death and they reported the case to ‘Potent’, the National Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health, a local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

The organisation then sent an initiative to the Ministry of Health to amend the regulations saying HIV positive people should no longer be buried in black bags because it represents discriminatory practice and severely affects their families.

The unnamed wife of S.V. told local media: “Our son brought clothes for his father to the hospital, where he was told that the body would be immediately sent to the morgue in a black bag because the deceased was HIV positive.

“My son told me that the undertaker should not bathe my husband either, because the doctor wrote on the bag ‘it is strictly forbidden to touch, not to be opened’. He was buried unshaven, just thrown into a black bag. I know that it is protocol, but nowhere in the world are HIV positive people buried in such a way.”

She claimed a nurse from the HIV and AIDS department in Belgrade that there were “worse” cases then her own, adding: “She saw with her own eyes parents who were wearing a little white dress for their HIV-infected girl they were not even allowed to put on their child.”

The head of ‘Potent’ also said that since the onset of the HIV epidemic in Serbia in 1985 there has been a practice of unequal treatment of the remains of people with HIV and viral hepatitis.

It is unclear if the government are considering changing the regulations.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By:  Ana MarjanovicSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Central European News

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