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Research into international students with HIV

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Minister Bruins for Medical Care is conducting research into international students with HIV infection. He wrote this responding to parliamentary questions from the PvdA.

Read in Dutch

Last month, the NOS (Dutch Broadcasting Foundation) reported that students from abroad with an HIV infection are often not treated in the Netherlands because their insurance does not cover these expenses. This would be the case for about ‘dozens’ of students annually, usually from Asia and African countries south of the Sahara.

Danger of spreading
Because the medicine for treatment cost between 700 and 1000 euros per month, and going back home is usually not an option, students often choose not to be treated. This is harmful to themselves and increases the chance of the disease spreading.

According to Minister Bruins, it is not known how many infected students there are: they are not registered anywhere. He wants research to be conducted “on what scale and of what nature the problem is so he can gain insight into the risks for the public health”.

Responsibility
That some insurances do not reimburse HIV treatments if the virus is contracted outside of the Netherlands is not strange, says Bruins. “It is not unusual for insurance companies to exclude certain treatments of reimbursement," he writes. Bruins calls it “the responsibility of the insurers and the universities” to provide international students with the proper information concerning these matters.

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