Doctor chided over disdain for LGBT community

Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A doctor who expressed disdain towards members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has received a dressing down from another doctor.

Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, professor and dean of medicine and infectious diseases at Universiti Malaya, told Dr Nur Ilyani Mohamed Nawawi that doctors like her made the situation worse by deterring people from seeking help.

Adeeba, who chairs the Malaysian AIDS Foundation, also advised Nur Ilyani to read up more about the advances in treating HIV.

She was responding to Nur Ilyani’s post on Facebook addressed to Marina Mahathir, which was earlier shared by the prominent activist.

Nur Ilyani had taken Marina to task for championing the rights of the LGBT community.

Among other things, she said if the LGBT community had rights, then she too had a right to live peacefully, free from “deviant lifestyles”. She suggested that Marina and others appeared to “promote” the LGBT lifestyle through their various media statements.

Nur Ilyani added that despite her stand on the LGBT community, she gave them the best treatment she could.

But Adeeba, who is also president-elect of the International AIDS Society, said Nur Ilyani should subscribe to the doctor’s oath.

“While the rest of the world is talking about the possibility of ending the AIDS epidemic it is people like you, and even worse, a doctor like you, who make this epidemic worse, because you deter people from coming forward for help and treatment,” she said in her response to Nur Ilyani’s post.

She said a doctor should also not allow considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing, or any other factor to come between their duty and their patient.

She said doctors should also not use their medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, and urged Nur Ilyani to do more reading to “understand a little better why there has been a rise in HIV amongst men-who-have-sex-with men”, and about “the advances that have occurred in the world of HIV”.

“No human being, and that includes you and I Dr Ilyani, is free of wrongdoings and sins. And that is for Allah to judge.

“As doctors we have promised to uphold human dignity and respect for all mankind and that means at the barest minimum you and I must not judge nor discriminate,” wrote Adeeba.