Chinese Province To Require Couples To Receive HIV Tests Before Marriage
China's Yunnan Province beginning Jan. 1, 2007, will require couples to receive HIV tests before getting married, Xinhua/People's Daily reports. People who test positive for the virus will be required to inform their partners or the local authorities will do so, Xinhua/People's Daily reports (Xinhua/People's Daily, 12/2). The new rule is part of a series of stringent measures to control the spread of HIV, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. According to official statistics, the number of HIV-positive people in Yunnan increased from 14,905 in 2003 to 40,157 by the end of 2005 (Harmsen, AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/3). The number of HIV cases in the province now accounts for one-quarter of the national HIV caseload, Xinhua/People's Daily reports. In addition, the Provincial Committee of AIDS Prevention and Control says HIV/AIDS cases have been detected in 128 of the province's 129 counties. "In a province like Yunnan where AIDS is prevalent, the new regulation can better safeguard the rights of people who are susceptible to HIV infection and will help individuals, families and society," Zhang Chang'an, director of the office of the committee, said (Xinhua/People's Daily, 12/2). HIV/AIDS advocate Hu Jia expressed concern about how the new rule would impact people's rights. "The Yunnan provincial government is simply motivated by what makes life easier for itself, but it violates people's rights of privacy," Hu said, adding, "It's hard to tell whether someone has informed his spouse or partner, and using a law to ensure it happens is definitely not the way to go." He also said the new rules apparently do not adhere to national policy (AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/3). Under China's first comprehensive regulations on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, which the State Council released earlier this year, local governments are required to provide confidential HIV testing and antiretroviral drugs to residents. Under the regulations, officials are barred from revealing the names or other personal information about HIV-positive people, and people living with HIV are responsible for informing family members and sexual partners of their status (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.