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Forced HIV tests on way out

By Huang Jingjing (Global Times)

20:03, November 24, 2011

Deputies of the Standing Committee of the Zhejiang Provincial People's Congress have moved to scrap a regional rule that requires drug addicts to receive compulsory HIV tests.

Analysts said the move was a step forward in human rights protection.

The proposal was part of a campaign to remove or revise 14 coercive regional rules that have no legal basis, the Qianjiang Evening News reported on Wednesday.

According to the Administrative Coercion Law set to be effective next year, all coercive regulations need to have a legal basis, otherwise they must be either revoked or revised.

After reviewing 172 regional rules, the provincial standing committee found 14 without legal basis, including one mandating HIV tests, the newspaper quoted Lü Hanfu, a deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Committee, as saying.

Based on Zhejiang's current regulations on HIV/AIDS prevention, law enforcement officers need to notify local disease control centers after arresting drug addicts and work with them on getting the detainees to take compulsory HIV tests.

However, such tests have no legal basis, the newspaper said.

"The removal of the rule would mark major progress in protecting the human rights and privacy of drug addicts," Li Dan with Dongzhen, an HIV/AIDS prevention NGO, told the Global Times, adding that many countries do not have such compulsory tests.

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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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