Lam plea for AIDS victims

DR CONRAD Lam Kui-chun yesterday criticised the Government for doing little to help AIDS victims.

An investigation by Dr Lam found that three of the territory's five funeral parlours refused to provide services for people who had died of AIDS.

Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien, said the urban services and health departments had not heard of this.

Her comments came after Dr Lam had asked whether the Government would introduce legislation to ensure that AIDS victims did not face discrimination from private hospitals and funeral homes.

Mrs Wong said the Urban Services Department was ''ever ready'' to give advice and assistance to funeral parlours and undertakers concerning the proper procedures in dealing with AIDS victims.

Guidelines on the handling AIDS patients were also issued to hospitals.

Medical practitioners who refused to treat such patients were in breach of the code of practice and would be disciplined.

There are 332 reported cases of HIV infection in Hongkong. So far, 72 have developed full-blown AIDS and 47 have died.

The Hongkong Funeral Home, Universal Funeral Parlour and Kowloon Funeral Parlour said they refused to handle AIDS victims because workers were afraid of the disease.