AIDS activists and the Orange County Human Relations Commission are distributing a free brochure that describes the legal rights of acquired immune deficiency syndrome patients or people who have been exposed to the virus.
Titled “Bill of Rights for AIDS Patients,” the five-page pamphlet cites case law and Title 20 of the California Code of Regulation, including:
- The right to confidential treatment of all medical records.
- The right to equal treatment by hospitals and medical personnel without regard to sex, religion, cultural background, economic status or source of payment for care.
- The right to refuse to participate in research projects.
“This brochure is desperately needed, because patients are often too shocked to absorb verbal information at the time of diagnosis,” said Pearl Jemison Smith, chairman of the AIDS Coalition to Identify Orange County Needs (ACTION), which helped write the brochure.
Now, she said, “once the shock wears off, they can reach for this bill of rights and understand that the law is on their side.”
About 10,000 copies of the flyer are to be distributed in the county by AIDS service providers, pharmacist groups, the American Red Cross and other groups.
The pamphlet also explains how AIDS patients can complete durable-power-of-attorney forms for health care, which allow them to designate another person to make health decisions for them if they are unable to speak for themselves.