A Chinese health official said Friday that China will take new
steps to protect the privacy of hepatitis B virus (HBV)
"We will make detailed regulations to prevent the carrier's
personal information from being leaked," Hao Yang, deputy director
of the disease prevention and control department under the Health
Ministry, said in an interview on the central government
All medical service providers should keep HBV carrier
information private, Hao urged.
China's current laws and regulations on prevention of infectious
diseases set out punishments for hospitals and medical personnel
who deliberately leak private information about infectious disease
patients or virus carriers.
HBV carriers and patients are often discriminated against in
university enrolment, employment and in their daily lives.
Some Chinese medical experts reckon that as many as one tenth of
the Chinese population, about 130 million, are HBV carriers, but
the Health Ministry has provided no confirmation of this
Hospitals and the Ministry have been advised to send medical
examination results directly to HBV carriers in line with
international practice, Hao said.
China's newly issued regulations on the prevention of AIDS set
out concrete measures for hospitals and health officials, Hao said,
adding that similar measures should be instituted for HBV.
Liu Danhua, deputy director of the training and employment
department with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security who also
joined the interview, revealed that the draft employment promotion
law will contain articles making it illegal for an employer to
refuse to hire infectious virus carriers.
Liu admitted that the existing government policy document
concerning the protection of HBV carrier's employment rights is not
A law is needed to punish employers who discriminate against HBV
carrier applicants, he said, adding that the draft employment
promotion law is currently under discussion and could be passed
According to the World Health Organization, hepatitis B is
preventable with safe and effective vaccines that have been
available since 1982.
In many developing countries, people are infected with HBV
during childhood, and 8 to 10 percent of people in the general
population become chronically infected.
HBV is transmitted by contact with blood or body fluids of an
infected person in the same way as HIV, the virus that causes
(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2007)