KYOTO – The Justice Ministry plans to provide all detention houses with written guidelines aimed at improving treatment of detainees with HIV and curbing discrimination, a lawmaker said Thursday.
House of Representatives member Etsuko Kawada, 54, and her 27-year-old son, Ryuhei Kawada — a hemophiliac who became infected with HIV via tainted blood products — had urged the ministry to educate its staff on human rights after an HIV-infected man held at the Kyoto Detention House suffered discrimination.
Responding to the Kawadas, the ministry admitted there was discriminatory treatment and that its staff lacked medical knowledge and an understanding of human rights.
The ministry said detention center staff wore plastic gloves when dealing with the man and wrote “HIV” on the washbowl when the man was getting a haircut.
To prevent a recurrence, the ministry said it discussed contagion issues with detention center doctors, and the Correction Bureau will send out written instructions.
“It is unclear where responsibility lies,” lawmaker Kawada said, criticizing the ministry’s explanations. “The instructions are not specific, so we would like to continue lobbying on the issue.”
Ryuhei Kawada sued the government for HIV-related damages and has become a symbol of the struggle for justice among people with HIV. The case was settled out of court.
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