Mon, Feb 23, 2009 - Page 3 News List

HIV tests to be scrapped at ministry’s institute

JUSTICE? Under current regulations, those who pass exams for prosecutors or judges must take tests for HIV, cancer, hepatitis, syphilis and other illnesses

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) said yesterday that the Executive Yuan had agreed to scrap the requirement that those who pass national exams to become judges or prosecutors take HIV tests before their training begins.

Huang said in a press release that her office received the Executive Yuan’s reply on Feb. 5 in response to a proposal she initiated to protect the rights of people living with HIV.

Huang said that trainees at the Ministry of Justice’s Judge and Prosecutor Training Institute would no longer be subjected to HIV tests.

Under current regulations, those who pass the national exams for prosecutors or judges are required to take tests for 18 health problems, including HIV, cancer, hepatitis and syphilis.

Those who do not pass the tests are banned from the training, which is required to become a prosecutor or judge.

Huang and 12 other lawmakers launched the proposal on Dec. 26 last year, arguing the regulation violated the Act on Prevention of Infections of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and Protection of the Rights of Those Who Are HIV Positive (人類免疫缺乏病毒傳染防治及感染者權益保障條例).

Huang said the act stipulates that only those who might have been infected with the virus should be given HIV tests and that a person’s blood can only be tested for HIV with their consent.

“The HIV virus is communicated in a specific way. With the advancement of medical science, those who are infected can work like [anyone else]. Therefore, HIV is usually seen as a chronic disease instead of an acute infectious disease,” Huang said.

“What’s more, personal health information is sensitive ... the Ministry of Justice should encourage the trainers at the institute [to take the test] instead of requiring trainees to do so. The institute does not have the authority to find out the results of its trainees’ physical checkups either,” she said.

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