In April 2000 it became evident that due to his frail physical condition, poor mobility and respiratory problems, F could not return to his home; a Chelsea town house he shared with a longstanding family friend.
He was unable to walk properly, let alone scale couple flights of stairs to his accomodation. He would become housebound. Also the layout of his accommodation was unsatisfactory.
RBKC Social Services came to see him at St Mary’s. He had an interview and the Social Services decided that he should be declared ‘unintentionally homeless’.
To support a ‘housing claim’ and to put F on the ‘Housing List’, his Social Worker on 18th April 2000, submitted a request for a ‘general letter’ to St Mary’s.
He received a reply dated 30th June 2000. Although requested, this letter in NO way confirmed F’s HIV diagnosis. The medical conditions alluded to, could have been caused by other medical ailments, which contribute towards the destruction of the individual’s immune system, cancer for example.
For unexplained reason same letter was requested from the St John’s Hospice, who issued it on 24th April 2000. The significance of this letter is discussed in greater detail on St John’s Hospice page.
The Housing Waiting List Application asked for details of medical conditions to support his claim. F’s application dated 17th April 2000, clearly stated that he was HIV+. It could be argued that RBKC was in NO way entitled to be provided with this specific information, as they do NOT provide service where it is IMPERATIVE for this information to be known in order to provide proper service. .This is referred to section 4 – Confidentiality of the DHSS ‘Local Authority Social Services Letter/86/8. Indeed, RBKC is NOT entitled to it, as confirmed by the Department of Heath.
Why was this disclosure necessary? Does RBKC practice some kind of discrimination towards those who are HIV+? It must be remembered that HIV condition is ‘ASYMPTOMATIC’, meaning that it does NOT produce any signs/symptoms. The ONLY way it may be found that an individual is HIV+ or NOT, is by a blood test. There is NO OTHER way to ascertain this fact.
HIV is a MEDICAL condition of some complexity, manageable only by a complex retroviral medication, prescribed by the individual’s HIV specialist and not available from High Street chemists.
Any and all SOCIAL conditions that an HIV+ individual may suffer from, are NOT HIV exclusive, they can and are caused by other conditions and circumstances. Therefore, although claimed by local authorities that they provide HIV relevant services, this is a misconception. ANY and ALL SOCIAL services provided by local authorities are NOT HIV EXCLUSIVE. The exact services may be provided to those who are NOT HIV+, or even those who are NOT aware of their status.