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Official: HIV Carriers Have Right to Marry

An official from the Ministry of Health was quoted yesterday as saying that HIV carriers have the right to get married.

Hao Yang of the ministry's disease-control department was reported in yesterday's China Youth Daily as saying that marriage is a right granted by the law and what the health department can do is offer medical advice so that the spread of the disease can be prevented.

The official's comments came amid national debate on the issue sparked by an HIV carrier's marriage to an uninfected man.

The couple from Guiyang, the capital of Southwest China's Guizhou Province, got their marriage license last Friday in the city. Their wedding ceremony is expected to be held in Beijing this Sunday. Some reports said the 28-year-old woman, who has asked to remain unidentified, also wants to have a baby in the future.

Wu Changzhen, an expert in marriage law, said it is a mark of progress in society that people can understand and respect the rights of people infected with the HIV virus.

Cao Yunzhen, an expert on HIV and AIDS, suggested that the couple take safety measures, such as using condoms, but she warned that no measures can fully guarantee that the man will remain free of the deadly virus.  However, Cao said that she would not encourage the woman's desire to get pregnant. Cao has repeatedly called for public understanding and care for HIV carriers and AIDS patients. "The HIV/AIDS issue needs the attention of society as a whole," she said.

However, several media reports indicated that not all HIV carriers and AIDS patients have the same luck.

HIV-positive people cannot get a marriage certificate in Central China's Hunan Province, the China News Service yesterday quoted an official from the province's civil affairs department as saying. An earlier report in the Beijing Morning Post said that East China's Jiangsu Province also does not allow HIV carriers and AIDS patients to marry.

(China Daily November 28, 2002) 

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