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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (December 22, 1997 - Samoa News)---Senator Moaali’itele Tu’ufuli will be introducing a bill next month which would authorize health care workers to investigate suspected carriers of the HIV virus and those suspected of being afflicted with AIDS.

The bill being drafted would include a provision which would authorize "physicians to order HIV antibody tests without informed consent for suspects that deem to be at risk of AIDS," Moaali’itele told the Samoa News.

At present, HIV/AIDS testing is done purely on a voluntary, confidential basis.

The Senator said that the bill would also authorize the Health Director to make an inspection of a household or other premises for the purpose of discovering whether any communicable diseases or other diseases dangerous to the public’s health exists.

He said the bill is aimed at preventing the spread of the AIDS virus.

"With this limited power, health authorities will be better equipped to prevent the spread of the deadly AIDS virus," he added.

To date, six people have died of AIDS in American Samoa. All six contracted the disease off-island and came home to die.

"The proposed legislation provides for complete confidentiality of HIV/AIDS patients and all personal information about them," noted the Manu’a legislator.

Two weeks ago, another lawmaker announced that legislation has been drafted that would ban people infected with HIV/AIDS from entering American Samoa and residing here.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to .

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