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Kunming Steps Up AIDS Control in Service Sector

People working in service sector in Kunming, the capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, may lose their jobs if they test positive for HIV or venereal disease in annual tests.

The city's HIV/AIDS control office issued a regulation on Monday that starting from March 22, 2005, AIDS and venereal disease tests will be added into the annual physical examination for people working in hotels, public bath centers, beauty salons, night clubs and other entertainment venues.

Central China's Henan Province is the only other part of China so far to have implemented such a regulation.

Kunming's 14 counties and districts will set up a database of workers. Those who get a clean bill of health will be issued a certificate by the local disease control department.

"Only with the certificate are they able to keep their job," said the head of the Kunming HIV/AIDS control office.

The regulation prohibits those testing positive from working in jobs with direct customer contact.

A neighbor of the infamous Golden Triangle, one of the world's biggest drug sources, Yunnan first reported the presence of HIV in 1989. There are presently more than 18,000 HIV carriers and AIDS sufferers in Yunnan, a number second only to that of Henan Province.

Yunnan has launched six programs since last year to fight against the deadly disease, including the promotion of condom use at hotels and public entertainment venues, free needle exchange, methadone maintenance therapy, HIV/AIDS education and the establishment of treatment and care centers and monitoring systems.

(Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2005)

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