alexa No Embalming for French HIV+: Ultimate Discrimination or Educational Issue?
ISSN 2332-0915

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Review Article

No Embalming for French HIV+: Ultimate Discrimination or Educational Issue?

Philippe Charlier1,2* and Christian Hervé2

1Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, University Hospital R. Poincaré (AP-HP, UVSQ), 104 R. Poincaré boulevard, 92380 Garches, France

2Laboratory of Medical Ethics and Forensic Medicine, University of Paris 5, 45 Saints-Pères street, 75006 Paris, France

*Corresponding Author:
Philippe Charlier
Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
University, Hospital R. Poincaré, 92380 Garches, France
Tel: 00-330147-10-76-80
Fax: 00-33-147-10-76-83
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: May 09, 2013; Accepted date: July 31, 2013; Published date: August 06, 2013

Citation: Charlier P, Hervé C (2013) No Embalming for French HIV+: Ultimate Discrimination or Educational Issue? Anthropol 1:103. doi: 10.4172/2332-0915.1000103

Copyright: © 2013 Charlier P, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Our objective is to describe and analyze the reasons for preventing embalming processes for HIV+ individuals in France. Arguments from both embalmers and health authorities, and patients’ relatives and associations are presented here after, with recent historical and ethical development data. Aesthetic-only cares have never been forbidden or restricted for any HIV+ patient. Invasive processes (i.e. embalming stricto sensu) could be authorized in the future, if performed in adequate conditions of practice. This position is a good step forward towards post-mortem equity for HIV+ patients. The right balance has to be found between absolute protection of professionals, and the respect due to the dead and their image through embalming and body conservation, visible by the family. Such topic and focus confirm that infectious disease is of primary importance for medical ethics. We lastly discuss the possibility that is this more of an educational issue (misunderstanding of the risks) in getting the ban legally changed.


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