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Apr 22, 2020

National AIDS Commission Chair Disturbed by Case of Ulysease Roca

Just prior to the interview with the ComPol, Chair of the National AIDS Commission, Laura Longsworth-Tucker said that she was devastated on how the case of Ulysease Roca evolved over the last few days. On Tuesday, along with the Ministry of Human Development and the Office of the Special Envoy the NAC came out against the purported treatment of Roca at the police department and his inability to access necessary care. As to the issue of whether an autopsy was done, Longsworth-Tucker shared the standards put in place by the World Health Organization in terms of medical personnel dealing with HIV positive patients.

 

On the Phone: Laura Longsworth-Tucker, Chair, National AIDS Commission

“The situation around Mister Roca’s death is not clear. We are not even certain. We have made attempts to determine whether a post-mortem was indeed done or not done. We got reports, but I cannot say because they are not definitively confirmed so I cannot comment on whether a post-mortem was done or not. What I can comment on though is the entire treatment of Mister Roca. From the National AIDS Commission, we have identified the stigma and discrimination around HIV/AIDS for many years. But most importantly, we have also recognized the stigma and discrimination against the LGBT community, which is terrible because we are all human beings and many of us have brothers and sisters and partners all affected by HIV/AIDS and also by having members or children being gay or defined as being a member of the LGBT community. We as a community have been guided by World Health Organization standards and all health systems implemented what is called universal precautions. So for context, please remember, we have mothers who deliver babies who are HIV infected. We have patients who are receiving injections who are HIV infected. We have HIV infected persons having surgical procedures done and we have people who died from HIV infections. If a person’s substantial diagnosis is HIV and AIDS and he dies, there is no point in doing an autopsy because you know the diagnosis and indeed it is less worrisome for somebody to be contaminated by blood or body fluids from that person. HIV infection affects multisystem failures.”

 

Longsworth-Tucker, however, says that if there is an investigation on a person that was in good health HIV-wise and on treatment and receiving care, then the police can request a post-mortem. 


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