Chinese City Adopts Restrictions on People with HIV/AIDS
Chengdu, China, has become the country's first city to adopt legislation dealing directly with people infected with HIV, including restrictions on what HIV-positive individuals can and cannot do, the Washington Post reports. According to the rules, known as the Chengdu City AIDS Prevention and Management Regulations, people with HIV and AIDS cannot marry, police must test people in "high-risk" groups within five days of arrest and HIV-positive inmates must be kept in incarceration facilities separate from non-infected people. Furthermore, Chinese citizens who have been abroad for more than one year must be tested and pregnant women "may be persuaded" to have an abortion "if medicine that could prevent the transmission of the virus to the child is unavailable," the Post reports. People with HIV or AIDS also are prohibited from holding positions as kindergarten teachers, surgeons and in other professions, and are subject to "large fines" for noncompliance. People like bar hostesses and high school students also are required to receive AIDS education. The city has 38 registered HIV-positive residents, but that "number could be much higher," the Post reports.
The rules have "caused a public outcry." One proposed rule, which would have banned people with HIV or AIDS from public swimming pools and public baths, was altered to apply only to people with STDs other than AIDS. The Chengdu Worker's Daily also has "strongly criticized" the law, saying that "while the rules are well-intentioned, the government should not treat people with AIDS and HIV like animals." But Wang Liangji, a member of the Chengdu People's Congress and one of the authors of the legislation, said, "We need to strike a balance between ways to limit the spread of the disease and human rights. ... The pressure from common people has been great. There is a terrorized feeling about AIDS in general society. We are under a lot of pressure to do something about it. That's why we drew up this legislation." According to the Post, Wang "said that the alternative is to maximize education and prevention." The rules are scheduled to take effect in May (Pomfret, Washington Post, 1/15).