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Chinese to undergo HIV testing after long stay abroad
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Chinese people who live abroad for more than a year will have to take an HIV test on their return, according to a regulation which takes effect on Saturday, the World AIDS Day.

The regulation on the cross-border control and prevention of AIDS was issued by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) back in May.

Chinese citizens will be required to take an HIV test at the border when he or she enters the country, or apply for a HIV test form at the border and take the test at qualified local hospitals within a month.

Foreigners wanting to stay in China for more than a year will also be required to take an HIV test and show the results to the public security departments when applying for a residence certificate.

Chinese employees working for international transport services, such as airlines, cross-border bus and train services will also have to take HIV tests.

On the other hand, China is relaxing restrictions on HIV carriers visiting the country from overseas.

"China has started revising the current laws and regulations that ban HIV carriers from entering the country," health ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an said earlier this month.

China issued the Law on Control of the Entry and Exit of Aliens in 1985, regulating that foreigners with infectious diseases such as leprosy, HIV/AIDS and venereal disease were not allowed to enter the country. "According to the transmissive nature of HIV/AIDS and our current evaluation of the harmfulness of HIV carriers, we have decided to revise laws and regulations that ban HIV carriers' from entering the country," Mao said.

But he didn't say when and how the laws would be revised.

The new regulation to take effect on Saturday said that HIV-positive people, Chinese and foreigners, shall report to the quarantine authority when entering China. The authority will inform the local disease control and prevention departments after confirming the report.

A report issued by China's Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS said that by the end of October 2007, a total of 223,501 people had been officially reported to carry HIV in China, including 62,838 AIDS patients.

The real figures are estimated at 85,000 AIDS patients and 700,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.

Globally, 2.5 million people have been diagnosed with HIV so far in 2007, with a total of 33.2 million living with the virus.

(Xinhua News Agency December 1, 2007)

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