Saturday, July 13, 2024

Court to hear whether mandatory HIV testing is constitutional in Zambia


The Livingstone High Court will this Wednesday hear a ground breaking case on whether mandatory testing for HIV and discrimination solely on the basis of HIV status is constitutional in Zambia.

The case, Kingaipe and Another v Attorney General, involves two former Zambian Air Force (ZAF) employees, Stanley Kingaipe and Charles Chookole who were allegedly subjected to mandatory testing for HIV without their knowledge and dismissed due to their HIV status.

The two are seeking reinstatement and damage for mental and emotional anguish.

This is contained in a joint press statement by Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and Zambian AIDS Law Research and Advocacy Network (ZARAN) and made available in Livingstone today.

According to the statement Kingaipe and Chookole were allegedly subjected to an HIV test without their consent and given anti-retroviral treatment without their knowledge in 2001.

And in October 2001, without their knowledge and participation, a medical Board reviewed their medical records and declared them permanently unfit for service but continued to work at the ZAF for a full year after the Board’s decision.

The statement indicated that they both performed very well in their job that one of the applicants was promoted during that time until October 2002 when they were both dismissed

Priti Patel, a lawyer with SALC stated in a statement that there is no legitimate medical or policy reason for discriminating against HIV positive persons in the military and subjecting them to testing without their consent.

Mrs. Patel challenged Zambia to send a clear message to the military that such unlawful treatment will not be tolerated.

And Dimuna Phiri, a paralegal with ZARAN stated that the testing of individuals without their consent not only violates fundamental rights guaranteed in the Zambian Constitution, but also has been shown to have harmful public health consequences by increasing stigma and further pushing HIV into the shadows.

SALC and ZARAN are assisting the Legal Resources Foundation of Zambia in the case.



  1. This is highly interesting. How do you subject employees to medical tests without their knowledge and then dismiss them because of their illness? Here in Europe the two would definately win the case.

  2. This is prospostrous! how in the world do you test somebody for HIV without there consent unless their job entails that but even then they have to be aware of that and sign a consent. Here in the US i know for a fact that when you apply for residency you are subjected to a syphillis and HIV test but you have to give consent. and the only reason they do this is to keep tabs on HIV cases and pin point people who are in need of ARV’S!

  3. “According to the statement Kingaipe and Chookole were allegedly subjected to an HIV test without their consent and given anti-retroviral treatment without their knowledge in 2001”.Now this raises a big question mark. how does somebody take medication without knowing the indication. i smell a rat right here. i think there is more to this case than what is in this article!

  4. Very, very, very wrong! You cannot subject anyone to medical tests that they are not aware of and then relieve them of their duties…even here in the US the two would live the rest of their lives with a lot of money to “play with.”

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  6. I can not believe that the entire Zambia Army could infringe on peoples human rights in such a manner.However,like Dalitso says,there is more to this than meets the eye.How did they agree to take any medication without been consulted about the tests.
    Dismisal on grounds of your HIV status is obviously Discriminatory.
    Lets wait and see.

  7. Awe sure!
    HIV Testing should be encouraged but not forced upon others unless their job might put them in harm or harm others.(Zaf guys have nothing to do except fimo fimo and singing in choirs)

  8. #1, even in Zambia they can win this case handsomely… WHO stipulates that no one can be screened of HIV/AIDS without/against their wish.. thats why there is a ‘counselling session’ before any HIV/AIDS test.. This is a ‘straight’ win case.. I can assure you.. Ine kuti baisuka amenso ba Judge bonse!!! kuti ba dabwa sana!!

  9. Hey #10 I like your comment .As much as they encourage HIV testing one should never force anyone to do it against there will ,thats why is says VCT ,VOLUNTARY COUNSELLING AND TESTING .You do it according to your will and nobody should force anyone to do it,the other thing in my mind when these guys where given the ARVs didnt they ready on medication and iam sure they explained to them the medication and i believe that medication is for life ,didnt they wonder ??????????????????

  10. Dear Bloggers, Very interesting comments indeed. Testing any individual for HIV has to be with their consent and discrimination should not be allowed. It should not be allowed that people who have not been tested for HIV/AIDS can have the morality to to dismiss those who have been tested. Anyway, this as it may be, I still feel there has been a lot of debate and countries should come up with a policy of compulsory testing. This would help the governments to plan their health, education, etc policies so as to adequately provide for everyone. Our hospitals are always overwhelmed because of people being continually treated for malaria, ingulu, pneumonia, meningitis, etc without establishing the cause of continued lack of body defences. Compulsory testing will even eliminate discrimination.

  11. Afterall, when there is an outbreak of measles or smallpox, every child is immunised against this disease and not body complains that there has to be consent.

  12. The country is needlessly losing qualified manpower just because people are not obtaining the right treatment. Why should people be dying in an age were medication has improved so much to prolong one’s life? Possibly, declaring a national disaster would be a starting point. My family has lost so many people just because we had no nerve to confront what had befallen us. My heart really bleeds when I look back and realise that those people would be with us today if only we had taken the initiative. I rest my case.

  13. From what I gather in this case, these two guys must have been told of their status after being tested forcibly, one way or another. , and then, they really didnt know or understand about their ‘rights’.. rather they were ignorant about the whole system…coupled with the ‘social stigma’ associated with HIV/AIDS, these guys hibernated…,
    Now when their health started deteriorating the ZAF bosses had to fire them…

    Its now that these guys have realised their legal rights ..Oooops! what a circus..
    the legal fight is on ‘bane’…

  14. ZAF officers must learn to consult with their lawyers before making some of these drastic decisions. I would be very surprised and concerned if this was done by a qualified doctor. I can’t wait for the ruling in this matter. To Kigaipe and Chookole, my advise is that you look up to Jesus, He heals all manner of diseases. Peace!!!

  15. The Act under which the Airforce operates Cap 131 provides for a medical board to continuously assess the employability of its personel with regards to medical capability. Believe me or not, these guys will lose their case because the medical board aquires the written consent from the subject to be RETIRED on Medical grounds and not DISMISSED as these patients want the whole world to believe. Afterall one goes with almost twice the money he is entiltled to as opposed to if he went on normal retirement. What they are trying to do is to get re-examined by the board (provided also by the Act) and if they are found fit to serve they MAY be reinstated. Its not a matter that should go to courts or Zambian Watchdog coz people have got back to ZAF thru the same boards that retired them.

  16. It is amazing to note that when 90 people are suffering from swine flu, everyone wants to put on a mask. But when millions are infected with HIV, many are reluctant to wear a condom…….

  17. I think there is a lot to this story. If their have been taking medication since 2001 they must have been told what it was for. If they have been taking the meds then they should be OK and fine. I have been on meds for a long time and still look the ame if not better as I was before the meds. The meds are there and people should be encouraged to be tested as it is no longer a death sentence. Knowing your status can stop you trasmitting the virus to others and also creating super viruses.

  18. What’s there to here about? I thought this unreasonable subject has already been washed down the drain.Here is a more productive topic if you have run out of what to debate: Make it mandatory for every citizen to be moving with a minimum of four packets of condoms.

  19. Yes #19! well done for that encouragment! We need to get over the stigma and empower people to lead their lives as normal as long as you keep taking your meds! 🙂

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    Interesting and I will be following this case seriously to get the outcome.
    Taking LT blogging to another level.

  21. LT please keep us posted on the proceedings of this important case. One the litigants is my brother. I want to know how much he will recieve so that as a family we agree on how we shall the cash aaaah!

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