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Forced HIV tests on way out (2)

By Huang Jingjing (Global Times)

20:09, November 24, 2011

Li Dun, a Tsinghua University professor and HIV/AIDS prevention activist, told the Global Times that the whole country should follow Zhejiang's example.

"Compulsory HIV tests for drug addicts have been common practice across the country," Li Dun said.

According to Article 23 of the Regulations on AIDS Prevention and Treatment, consultation and testing on HIV/AIDS should be done voluntarily.

But Article 24 states that health and other related departments can formulate circumstances for HIV/AIDS testing in accordance with the needs for the disease's prevention and control.

"The two articles contradict each other, and run counter to the Legislation Law," Li Dun said.

Gao Qiang, 36, a drug addict for 18 years from Kaiyuan, Yunnan Province, told the Global Times that he still undergoes these compulsory tests even though he has been drug-free since 2005.

"I cannot remember how many times the police suddenly broke into my room after I checked into a hotel and forced me to take a urine test to see if I still use drugs. If the urine test is positive, I will be asked to take an HIV test," Gao said.

"In those occasions I felt depressed and discriminated against as my privacy was exposed to others, especially my friends who did not know my past. I totally support the removal of the compulsory test," Gao added.

Wang, a man from Fuzhou, Fujian Province, who has suffered from AIDS for six years, also faced these problems.

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Canada at 2011-11-2470.36.49.*
HIV is a terrible disease. I don"t know whether HIV testing is compulsory here for drug addicts, but it would seem advisable for both the drug addicts own personal health, & the health & life of his/her sexual partners...and their sexual partners....and their sexual partners, & a pregnant woman"s child. It can spread quickly. Treatment is extremely expensive. HIV can be spread by drug addicts sharing needles. Vancouver has led the way in Canada providing a "harm reduction" medical facility with clean needles where addicts can shoot up, methadone, etc., counselling to help addicts get off drugs, find housing & welfare or employment. It also reduces crime & health care costs. Harper"s Conservatives went to the Supreme Court of Canada, but failed in their attempt to shut it down. China also should take steps to ensure its blood donor supply is not infected. China had representatives in Vancouver visiting St. Paul"s Hospital that has considerable experience in treating HIV. Perhaps what needs to be done is to ensure the privacy of the individual getting tested. There have been cases where HIV people have had sex with partners without telling the partner they had HIV, & they"ve been charged with a criminal offense.

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