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China: Legislation Called for HIV/AIDS Control

Law Congress: Legislation Called for HIV/AIDS Control

Wu Chongqi, vice president of the China Hygiene Law Society, on Tuesday called on the Chinese government to accelerate the pace of formulating a law on HIV/AIDS control.

Building a comprehensive legal system is the key to controlling and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in China, Wu said during a symposium at the ongoing 22nd Congress on Law of World in Beijing.

China, the most populous country in the world, bears greater responsibility than many other countries in preventing and controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS, Wu said.

Since the mid-1990s, China has worked out over 300 laws and adopted a series of economic, legal and administrative measures to support the campaign against the disease, in a bid to create a better legal environment.

A draft of HIV/AIDS prevention and control regulations, drawn up by the State Council, is being circulated to solicit opinions. It outlines the principles, strategies and responsibilities of government agencies within a legal framework.

In fighting HIV/AIDS from the legal perspective, Wu said that legislation concerning HIV/AIDS prevention and control should seek a balance between the protection of personal rights and the maintenance of public health and safety.

In June, legal and health experts and government officials had a heated debate in Shanghai on four drafts of regulations.

They had different views on whether the regulations should emphasize the protection of personal rights or prevention and control work; whether responsibility should be placed on those who are HIV-positive to inform their spouses or sex partners they are infected; and whether it is necessary to carry out compulsory testing.

China's legislation should focus on ensuring that AIDS patients and HIV-positive people are not discriminated against, he said.

"If the law only says how to manage AIDS patients without protecting them, it will be very counterproductive for checking the spread of the disease," Wu said.

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