Local governments have quickened their steps in passing regulations and laws on the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS which has spreads so rapidly that it has caused much human suffering and created a serious social burden.
The local legislative department of Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, has reportedly issued a special regulation on the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The first of its kind in China, the local regulation clearly stipulates what rights and duties a HIV/AIDS victim has. If the rights of victims are trampled upon, they can seek legal protection.
Official reports say that there are nearly 100,000 AIDS patients alive now in China.
In addition, many people infected with HIV in the early 1990s are expected to become AIDS patients soon. How to manage and protect them becomes an ever more vital issue for the social development of the world's most populous country.
According to the new regulation, AIDS patients, HIV carriers and their family members have equal rights to education, employment and privacy protection.
Any discrimination and rights deprival activities against HIV/AIDS victims are forbidden, says the regulation, which also stipulates that people should receive HIV tests as part of their health examinations before marriage and during pregnancy.
The State Council began drafting a new national regulation on HIV/AIDS prevention and control about three years ago.
The first draft of the regulation, issued about six months ago, also highlighted the protection of the legal rights of HIV/AIDS victims and their relatives, Zhao Ning, a disease control division director at the Ministry of Health told China Daily.
However, it will take quite a long time for the Ministry of Health to organize officials and experts to carefully proof the draft before it is given to the State Council and the National People's Congress for final approval, Zhao added.
Meanwhile, many issues dealt with by the regulation must still be discussed by the central government's dozens of departments which need to reach an agreement on disease control and rights protection, said Dai Zhicheng, director of the Chinese Association of AIDS/HIV Prevention and Control.
(China Daily October 16, 2002)