COMPULSORY HIV TESTING MAY BE BANNED IN PNG

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 18, 2001 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---Compulsory HIV testing would be banned under a proposed Papua New Guinea HIV/AIDS management law, Director of National Aids Council Dr. Clement Malau said.

This recommendation was made at a three-day Legislative Reforms workshop hosted by the Legal & Ethical Advisory Committee of the Council.

Dr. Malau said under the proposed law, HIV testing may only be carried out with the informed consent of the person to be tested, and must be accompanied by pre and post test counseling.

He said the workshop acknowledged that experience has shown that HIV/AIDS must be managed within a framework of compassion, non-discrimination and respect for human rights and the dignity of the individual.

"Laws should be positive rather than negative. The workshop therefore recommended that laws be enacted to prohibit discrimination against any person on the basis of their HIV status, or presumed status.

"On the other hand, any intentional act of transmission of HIV will be an offence, and measures will be put in place to prevent deliberate and reckless acts which may transmit the virus," he said.

The workshop also considered measures to assist vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of society, such as women, children, sex workers and men who have sex with men.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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