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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Privacy becomes core healthcare issue

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)

09:03, March 15, 2012

Doctors check a blood sample for the HIV virus at a laboratory managed by the Foshan Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Guangdong province. Debate is raging nationwide due to a policy proposed by officials in Guangxi that will mean anyone who receives voluntary HIV screening will have to show their ID card first. (Provided to China Daily)

Request for ID prior to blood tests causes concern over data protection, reports Shi Yingying.

Meng Fei was confirmed HIV-positive in August, but decided to hold off telling his parents for fear of upsetting them. This month, that choice was taken out of his hands by the local center for disease control and prevention.

"My father received a phone call on March 1 by someone asking for my contact information. When he asked who it was, they told him and then revealed that I'd contracted HIV," said the 20-year-old, who spoke on condition of using an alias.

Meng was diagnosed after taking a blood test in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, where he has worked as a trader for about a year. His family still lives in his native Fujian province.

"I didn't give anyone permission to tell my parents," he said. "None of my family knew I'm gay, nor did they have any clue I'm HIV-positive. I only gave my real name before the test (in Kunming) because they promised details about my condition would be kept confidential."

Concerns over the leaking of private health information is widespread in China so much so that when Xinhua News Agency reported in January that people in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region will be required to provide ID cards prior to HIV screening, there was public outcry.

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Canada at 2012-03-1870.36.49.*
Further to comments submitted yesterday, people could be told the approximate date their [numbered] test results would be available, and they could be given a phone number and period of time [perhaps 3-4 weeks?] to phone for test results. If they failed to phone, then the health authorities could attempt to find them.

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