China Passes Legislation To Ban Sale of Blood, Prevent Discrimination as Part of HIV Prevention Plan
The Chinese Parliament on Saturday passed legislation to ban the purchase or sale of blood to prevent the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, prohibit discrimination against any person with an infectious disease and guarantee government funding for infectious disease prevention programs, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 8/29). The legislation was passed as an amendment to the Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases and took effect immediately. Under the legislation, individuals who violate clauses that ban the illegal collection or sale of blood are subject to penalties. In addition, the law stipulates that all levels of government must strengthen prevention and control measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. The legislation also calls for a system to require hospitals and blood collection centers to report signs of infectious diseases (South China Morning Post, 8/29). The State Council will be responsible for detailing the regulations on HIV/AIDS prevention and control, according to China Daily (Guo, China Daily, 8/30). "The law stipulates that governments of various levels should strengthen prevention and control of AIDS and take measures to prevent the spread of the disease," Xinhua News Agency reported, according to BBC News. The legislation represents the first time that the government has specifically targeted HIV/AIDS in the law, according to BBC News. About 11% of HIV-positive Chinese contracted the virus through blood transfusions (BBC News, 8/28).
The law stresses the prevention of infectious diseases and "puts greater responsibility" on health care facilities to monitor the spread of contagious diseases and prevent the diseases from spreading outside of the institutions, according to Xinhua News Agency, Reuters reports (Reuters, 8/28). Under the law, the central government will offer aid to areas that lack the resources to provide services to infected people who cannot afford treatment, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 8/28). Li Yuan, an official with the Legislative Affairs Commission under the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said, "The amended law sums up the lessons that China (learned) during its fight against the severe acute respiratory syndrome [outbreak] (SARS) last year and its control of the bird flu outbreak this spring" (China Daily, 8/30).