Sindh High Court Orders Equal Treatment for Transgenders with HIV/AIDS


by Omama Anwar

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The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued a directive on Wednesday, instructing the Civil Hospital administration to promptly provide medical treatment to transgender patients with HIV/AIDS. 


The court’s decision came after transgender activists Shahzadi Rai and Hina Baloch, represented by advocate Sara Malkani, filed a petition last week highlighting the hospital’s negligence toward transgender patients. 

The activists argued that the hospital’s discriminatory practices violated the fundamental human rights of transgender individuals, particularly in denying them treatment for HIV/AIDS. 

In response to the plea, the court conducted a hearing to address the hospital’s refusal to treat transgender patients, leading to the subsequent order. 

Hina Baloch expressed her concerns to the media, stating: “Transgender patients with HIV/AIDS have been facing neglect for the past two years. Although medicines for the disease are available in all hospitals, problems arise when surgical interventions are required due to accidents, as hospitals are reluctant to provide care to transgender individuals.”

She highlighted the additional layers of oppression faced by transgender individuals due to the stigma surrounding the disease.

Hina Baloch, with Shahzadi Rai and three other transgender petitioners, attended the hearing and informed the court about three transgender individuals urgently needing medical relief and surgical interventions. 

The court took note of their concerns and warned the hospital administration to ensure immediate treatment for the patients visiting the hospital the following day.

Meanwhile, the Civil Hospital's Additional Superintendent, Dr. Harish Kumar, announced that a focal person had been appointed to facilitate communication with transgender individuals and encourage them to contact the hospital. He refuted claims of discrimination, saying: “There might be misunderstandings, and a screening process is conducted before treating HIV/AIDS patients.

The provincial high court directed trans patients to contact the focal person, ensuring their treatment process would be facilitated by him. The court emphasized that there should be no discrimination against transgender persons in healthcare settings.