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Chinese government drafts legislation to ban HIV-positive people from public baths

Photo by Flickr User Kenneth Lu

The Chinese government has drafted legislation that prohibits people with HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from entering public bathhouses, posting a fine of 30,000 yuan (or $5,000).

UNAIDS reported in 2011 an estimated 780,000 people in the country were living with HIV or AIDS. A survey of more than 10,000 people on the popular microblog Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, shows 72 percent support the ban and only 20 percent object to it. And The Guardian reports that most Chinese people living with HIV/AIDS face “deep-rooted social stigma.”

Chinese non-governmental organizations and health organizations are voicing opposition to the proposed ban.
“The law’s only effect will be to increase discrimination against people with AIDS.” Yu Fangqiang, the director of a Nanjing-based Advocacy group, told The Guardian.

Guy Taylor, a UNAIDS officer based in Beijing, told the Guardian that HIV can only be transmitted through unprotected sex, from mother to child in pregnancy and through using contaminated injection equipment. And sharing a bath with an HIV-positive person “poses absolutely no risk from a public health perspective, and that’s important to realize.”

The government will gather public opinion data on the legislation until Nov. 11, when the legislation will be sent to a higher government body for final approval.

H/T Cindy Huang

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