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Sichuan monitors likely HIV/AIDS carriers among overseas returnees

By Sun Xiaobo (Global Times)

08:44, November 05, 2012

Overseas residents entering Sichuan Province for business and study and overseas contract workers returning home will be closely monitored for major infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, according to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) cosigned Friday by the province's department of health and the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau.

The Chengdu-based West China City Daily reported Saturday that the interagency MOU is aimed at preventing diseases from entering China and ensuring public health.

"We decided to work with health officials to monitor and conduct behavioral intervention of carriers of some infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS," an entry-exit bureau official said.

The official added that as more overseas residents come to Chengdu, the risk of infectious disease has increased.

The newspaper reported over the weekend that by the end of August, there were 14,258 people from overseas living in Chengdu.

Neither the newspaper nor the bureau's website indicates how the monitoring will be carried out. A complete list of infectious diseases to be monitored had not been announced as of Sunday.

"I don't know what the officials will do if people with HIV/AIDS are found, and I think it shows a hint of discrimination against them," Xia Donghua, program director of Marie Stropes International, an NGO on HIV/AIDS prevention, told the Global Times. "In 2010 the State Council removed the regulation that forbade people with HIV/AIDS from entering China."

The China Information System for Diseases and Prevention shows that 445 people died from infectious diseases in Sichuan from July to September this year, indicating that more people died of AIDS than any other disease. Tuberculosis and rabies were the second and third highest cause of death.

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