God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

20.09.2009 Mandatory testing

Mandatory HIV testing ‘violates their rights’
(IOL website 19.09.09)

Mandatory testing for HIV would violate the rights of people, the SA Human Rights Commission said on Friday. This comes after provincial Health MEC Theuns Botha announced plans to introduce legislation in the Western Cape to have every patient at every health facility tested for the virus. Botha says the move is the final onslaught in the fight against the disease.
Currently 200 000 people in the Western Cape are estimated to be HIV-positive and 63 000 are on ARV treatment. Botha has started the ball rolling to draw up legislation which he anticipates will be ready by next March. He said the legislation was necessary as people had “avoidance” behaviour and chose to not be tested.
Dr Mark Heywood, of the Aids Law Project, agrees with the rights commission. The Treatment Action Campaign was divided on the issue, spokesperson Rebecca Hodes said. Steven Ngobeni, the national HIV and Aids health rights co-ordinator for the commission, said yesterday mandatory testing “does not make sense”. People, he said, often did not know their rights, counselling at voluntary testing centres was not up to scratch and universal access to treatment was not readily available.  Both Ngobeni and Heywood said the provincial government would make a greater impact by educating people about HIV and testing.  Heywood said: “There is no way that you could justify a law to introduce mandatory testing.” It was also wrong from a public health and HIV management perspective.  “I would suggest a public campaign to get people to go for testing. Right now people are avoiding being tested as there is too little information and routine offerings are haphazard.”  He said a law would not work. “People will still be scared of a diagnosis and they could in fact completely avoid health care facilities.”  The TAC’s Hodes said mandatory testing in Botswana had been successful but it had been rolled out as part of a broader ARV treatment campaign.
“Some say mandatory testing will increase stigma, others say it will destigmatise the disease. But if testing becomes mandatory there should be proper support,” she said.  Botha said on Friday it was a two-pronged approach – testing as well as getting people into treatment sooner.   “We would introduce people much earlier into a treatment programme,” he said.

An interesting article and I would like to add: We have to make HIV testing as normal as any other testing. Which would mean in a first step to remove all “extra doors & extra benches” for HIV testing, counseling, treatment and so on..” I even think we can stop the pretest counseling. Like any other diseases we have to advise after a diagnose and not before. If somebody has cancer, we also do not put him or her through a lengthy intimate process before he or she is allowed to have a result.

Being HIV positive is a medical condition in this frameset, let’s treat it as such.

Filed under: HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Politics and Society, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , ,

One Response - Comments are closed.

  1. alivenkickn says:

    Mandatoty Testing – Willkommen in der Diktatur Südafrika

    But if testing becomes mandatory there should be proper support,”

    Klaro Kultur und Tradition die sehr stark im Bewußtsein der Menschen verankert sind und gerade in Afrika verhindern sich dem Thema HIV zu stellen werden per Gehirnwäsche oder einem speziellen dafür entwickelten Medikament gar? äh behandelt. . .

    Selbst wenn die Aufklärung optimal wäre, wenn alle Änsgte, Stigma und Diskriminierung aus der Welt geschaffen wäre würde es nicht gleichbedeutend damit sein das jeder sich dann auch testen läßt.

    Jeder Mensch hat ein Recht auf Leugnung und Verdrängung. Per Gesetz Menschen zum test zu zwingen und dann – im schlimmsten Fall – jemand zu verurteilen weil er sich nicht hat testen lassen, das ist nur in ner Diktatur möglich. Im übrigen würde dies gegen die Allgemeinen Menschenrechte verstoßen.

HIV, AIDS and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and AIDS in Africa is often a challenge. Living in Africa has also its challenges. On the other hand I feel very much blessed having all the three. So you will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa and essential information and developments in the field of HIV and AIDS. And in between personal stories and thoughts. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me - blogs - "thinking loud" so to speak is a ways of communication and exchange of ideas.

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