A new regulation to be implemented on July 1 in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region stipulates that people will be required to register their real names when taking an HIV/AIDS test.
The new rule, which was passed by the standing committee of the People’s Congress in Guangxi on May 30 and announced at a recent press conference, also requires that all the testing institutions should protect confidentiality – and must not disclose any information even to the families of those who take the test, without their consent.
Given the fact that sexual contact is the main mode of HIV transmission in Guangxi, the regulation also requires those who test positive to inform their spouse or sexual partners.
Since the draft law was first made public in January 2012, the proposal for this real-name HIV testing system has been controversial. While many people are in favor of the move, others argue that it will lead to an invasion of privacy.
Many HIV or AIDS patients and carriers are strongly against the new rule. In addition to the perceived risks of their own condition being disclosed, they also worry that the new rule may scare off people who were thinking of taking the test and result in a further spread of the disease.
The number of AIDS and HIV cases has increased rapidly in Guangxi since 1996, and Fan Xiaohui, a senior official with the Standing Committee of the Guangxi People’s Congress, said the real-name testing system will help the authorities in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in the province.
Edited by Lin Hong and Niva Whyman