HIV-positive patient ‘refused to take life-saving drugs’ in UK detention center

HIV-positive man awaiting deportation to Jamaica denied life-saving treatment in migrant detention center, The independent has learned.

The 42-year-old relies on daily medication to manage his condition, and says doses for his other ailments, schizophrenia and depression, have been reduced by staff at the Colnbrook Immigration Center.

He has lived in the UK for more than 30 years and was arrested on Monday after law enforcement officers “kicked down his door” and seized him from his home in the wee hours of the morning.

The Birmingham resident was due to be deported to Jamaica next Wednesday, but Home Office staff have now said he will not be returned, following inquiries from The independent.

“They didn’t give me any HIV medication despite my request. I usually took one of these pills every day and it helps me manage my condition, ”said the man. The independent from his cell in Colnbrook before the government’s turnaround.

“They completely stopped my depression tablets that I have been taking for over ten years. For some reason it’s like they want me to scream and kick off, but I’m not going to do it.

He added, “You can’t let someone suffer like they hurt me. What else should I do to show them that the way they are treating me is wrong? “

The man is also addicted to heroin and must take methadone regularly to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Due to the reduction in his methadone, he suffers from severe symptoms. He says he vomits frequently and has been unable to eat and sleep properly for days.

Seth Ramocan, Jamaican High Commissioner to London, said The independent he was carrying out “immediate” inquiries with the Interior Ministry into the matter.

The man was due to be deported to Jamaica next Wednesday, but Home Office staff have now said he will not be returned, following investigations by The Independent

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It comes after a High Court judge ruled in July that the Home Office failed to put systems in place to protect HIV-positive detainees, after a man was denied life-saving drugs for four days.

According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, not taking HIV medication regularly can allow the virus to grow and may also increase the risk of developing resistance.

The one-child Colnbrook inmate says he is very British and feared the life awaiting him in Jamaica – a country he has never returned to since arriving in the UK in 1990 in the age of 11.

The man has criminal convictions, which the Home Office originally considered grounds to deport him, including one drug offense and another for common assault.

“It’s not like I’m a bad person. Yes I made mistakes but no matter what I do or how I try to change my life the system always seems to be against me, ”he said.

Colnbrook is currently trying to contain a Covid-19 outbreak, The independent understands, and humans, whose immune systems are already compromised, fear contracting the virus – especially when sharing spaces, such as the exercise yard, with people with coronavirus.

The man’s aunt, 87, said The independent that she also fears for her safety if he is deported to Jamaica; in addition, his health is deteriorating and she has always been able to count on him to support him.

“Every time I talk to him, I cry. I think about the way he’s treated because he came here as a miner – we’re all British. He and I came to the UK under the British flag, ”she said.

Home Office accused of “cutting corners” in approach to deportation of black British residents

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“He made mistakes, but we all do; if they sent him out, they send him to lose his life.

“I would hate to see him go to Jamaica because there is no one there. He is sick, and where is he going to seek help, how is he going to live? He has nothing, not even the clothes on his back.

Karen Doyle, of Movement For Justice, said it was not the first time she had heard of a black man being denied treatment in a British detention center.

“The government likes to trumpet that these mass deportation charter flights to Jamaica have nothing to do with Windrush. This is not true – each flight carried children and grandchildren of the Windrush generation, ”she said. The independent.

“This man is threatened with deportation to a country where he has no one, no connection, with mental and physical health problems that make him vulnerable to exploitation. On top of that, he will be put on a plane after a week of acute drug withdrawal, a weakened immune system and deteriorating mental health.

“This is simply inhuman and shows this government’s utter contempt and contempt for the Windrush generation, who are still fighting for their compensation, and for the entire Jamaican Diaspora; the Jamaican government should step in to protect its citizens, not collude with this unfair, inhuman and racist charter flight.

Bella Sankey, Director of Detention Action, said: “The Home Office is once again showing that its approach to deporting black British residents is riddled with shortcuts and a disregard for the damage separation is causing. to families and children.

“Until the Home Office allows those facing deportation access to proper legal advice and accepts that those who grew up here are British aside from name, they will continue to deport people who belong in the UK with their families. “

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “All immigration removal centers have dedicated medical facilities on site around the clock, including access to independent doctors and nurses.

“All decisions, including drug prescription and dosage, relating to an individual’s medical needs are made by an independent physician. “

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