Malaysian Government Seeks To Impose Prison Terms, Fines on HIV-Positive People Who Donate Blood, Deputy PM Says
The Malaysian government is planning to imprison and fine HIV-positive people who are aware of their status when they donate blood, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said Thursday, the AP/China Post reports. Razak did not provide a timeline for when the laws will take effect or clarify the penalties. Razak said that at least seven blood donors last year were found to be HIV-positive. "If you knowingly donate blood when you're HIV-positive, you could cause the death of others," Razak said, adding, "We want to make it a crime." Malaysia from 1986 to 2006 recorded 70,559 cases of HIV/AIDS, according to Ministry of Health statistics released earlier this month. According to Razak, 6,000 new HIV/AIDS cases are reported annually, 70% of which involve injection drug users. Razak said the government is planning a campaign to increase HIV/AIDS awareness using media programs, seminars and weekly sermons at mosques. He also announced that the government is seeking to expand required HIV testing for Muslim couples who plan to marry. Under current requirements, which are in place in seven of Malaysia's 13 states, if one or both partners tests HIV-positive, the couple is required to undergo counseling but is not prohibited from marrying (AP/China Post, 6/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.