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UPDATED: December 1, 2013 NO. 27 JULY 4, 2013
HIV: Privacy VS. Protection


Meng Lin (gb.cri.cn): In Chinese society, discrimination against HIV carriers and AIDS patients remains severe. Further exposing private health details would increase pressure associated with daily life, employment and family. Legislation demanding real-name registration will only discourage people from undergoing HIV tests.

People worry that their lives would be ruined once their identities are revealed, particularly among the more well-educated, and those employed at big companies. Thus, I think it's not yet time to impose real-name testing requirements.

Huang Qichao (voc.com.cn): Those who support real-name registration for HIV testing argue that anonymous tests will make disease prevention and control difficult, as it's impossible to track down HIV positive patients without a record of their health status kept at official medical institutions. This argument sounds reasonable. With no corresponding supervision and control, HIV carriers could easily transmit the disease to others, which is unfair.

However, although medical institutions promise that health workers will always do their utmost to protect patient privacy, there is no guarantee of 100-percent safety.

Even if health workers do manage to keep patient privacy perfectly safe, the issue of trust might still prevent people from undergoing real-name tests. This might result in a sharp decline in HIV testing, which is unfavorable to the prevention and control of the epidemic.

Removing discrimination against patients will play a crucial part in the effort to fight HIV/AIDS. However, there is still a long way to go before we reach this goal. Discrimination is a major reason why people reject real-name registration for HIV testing.

Huang Xue (voc.com.cn): At the end of 2011, 780,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in China, about half of which unknowingly. So why do so few people get tested? And why do some even give up treatment?

The answer relates to wide-spread discrimination within China against HIV/AIDS patients. With most of society hostile toward those suffering from the disease, what would real-name HIV testing achieve? A lot of HIV positive patients prefer to suffer in silence rather than face discrimination or abandonment by family and friends.

It's not enough to show concern for patients of the disease only on World AIDS Day.

Existing or potential carriers need real care and more understanding in order to help build trust in society.

Yang Tao (Legal Daily): Statistics show that since July 2011, when Beijing's medical institutions began to ask ID cards from those who come for HIV testing, they have seen a sharp decline of visitors. As a result, more HIV/AIDS carriers will remain unknown and thus untreated, increasing the risk of infection.

The lack of real-name registration during HIV testing might prevent adequate protection for those who suffer in secret. According to the Criminal Law, deliberate transmission of HIV/AIDS is a crime. The important thing is that there are legal regulations that demand relevant authorities inform HIV positive patients of their legal responsibilities.

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