A controversial bill that is being proposed in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region will, if passed, make real-name HIV testing and disclosure compulsory. Under the regulation, which is still in draft form, HIV-positive patients would have to inform their partners of their status within three days of receiving test results, failing which this would be done by health workers.
Said Ge Xianmin, director of HIV/AIDS prevention and control at the local health department, “Given that Guangxi has been hit relatively hard by HIV/AIDS and that sex has become a major transmission route, such rules would help protect sufferers’ partners and avert secondary transmissions.”
His view was supported by Wang Yu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, who said at a press conference held Wednesday by the Ministry of Health, “HIV carriers might spread the virus to others through unprotected sex or other channels. Under such circumstances, should we protect the privacy of the carriers, or control the epidemic and protect public health?”
Wang Yu also said that according to international research, simply informing people of their HIV status would reduce their chances of passing on the virus to others by 70 percent.
The proposed bill has been a source of great controversy among HIV/AIDS patients and activists who say the new bill not only constitutes an invasion of privacy, but would also drive those most at risk away from seeking testing, and if found to be positive, healthcare and medication.