FDD oppose mandatory HIV Testing, TALC says it is a human right violation

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Dr. Musonda showing President Edgar Lungu the HIV tester
The opposition FDD says it opposes the mandatory HIV testing declared by Republican President Edgar Lungu as it is it not only unethical but a violation of human rights, violets ones bodily privacy and is detrimental to public health.

FDD Deputy National Secretary Antonio Mwanza said no one, not even government has the right to force anyone to be tested for anything as that is one’s preserve.

He said the declaration by the President is counterproductive as it will make people stay away from health facilities for fear of being forced to be tested for HIV.

“As FDD we strongly oppose mandatory HIV testing for a number of reasons: Mandatory HIV testing is unethical as it violates human rights; it violates the privacy and bodily integrity of persons and is actually detrimental to public health as it is counterproductive as many people would shy away from health centres for fear of being forced into testing against their will. No, one not even a government has right to force someone to take a test they don’t want. People must take a conscious decision to either take a test or not.

“Studies the world over have proved that mandatory testing does not result into reduced cases of HIV and AIDS. There is no evidence whatsoever that mandatory testing of HIV results into behavioural change,” he said.

Mr Mwanza making HIV testing mandatory would be going against the outlined 5-Cs as defined by the World Health Organisation which must respected.

He outlined the 5-Cs as Consent, Confidentiality, Counselling, Correct test results and Connection/linkage to prevention, care and treatment he said are the key principles which should apply to all models of HTC services.

He said people being tested for HIV must give informed consent to be tested.

He said one must not only be physically and pychologically prepared to take the test but be informed of the process for HTC, the services that will be available depending on the results as well as their right to refuse testing.

He said coerced testing is never appropriate, regardless of where that coercion comes from, government inclusive.

“The UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report of 2012 provides evidence that adhering to the principles of voluntary testing and practices for HTC and linking those tested to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support can enable countries to reduce the incidence of new HIV infections and reduce HIV-related morbidity and mortality.

“These gains are further enhanced when countries take steps to increase access to: voluntary HTC, including for key at-risk and vulnerable populations; prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT); and ARV treatment to all those who need it,” he said.

He said should focus its energies on addressing real issues as opposed to forcing people to test for HIV.

He said among other measure, government should ensure that it expands access through an ethical process for conducting HTC, including defining the purpose of the test and the risks and benefits to the person being tested.

He noted that assuring linkages between the site where the test is conducted and appropriate treatment, care, prevention, and other services, in an environment that guarantees confidentiality of all medical information would also increase the number of people testing and being treated.

He said there is need to address the implications of a positive test result, including the risk of discrimination and stigma and the importance of early enrolment in HIV treatment, care and follow-up services as needed.

“Reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination at all levels, including within health-care settings.

“Ensuring a supportive legal and policy framework within which the response is scaled up, including safeguarding the human rights of people accessing HTC and other services.

“Improving the healthcare infrastructure so quality services adhering to these principles can be sustained in the face of increased demand for testing, treatment, and related services and ensures effective monitoring and evaluation is in place,” he said

And Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC) has said that it is against the policy on mandatory HIV Testing, Counselling and Treatment for all patients who visit public health institutions to seek medical attention, as announced by President Edgar Lungu.

TALC Country Coordinator Felix Mwanza has told QTV News via telephone that while the government might mean well, mandatory HIV testing is against human rights.

Mr. Mwanza said that a person must give a consent that they be tested for HIV because of the impact this might have on one’s life if found to be positive.

Mr. Mwanza said that the mandatory HIV testing will also result in many people shunning health institutions for fear of being tested for HIV.

Mr. Mwanza said that though the government may have outstanding goals, this is not the correct way of testing people, adding that government should focus on encouraging people to go for Voluntary Counseling and Testing instead of compelling them to do HIV tests.

Meanwhile, Society for Family Health (SFH) says it has so far distributed over 90,000 HIV self testing Kits in four Provinces since the program’s inception in August last year.

SFH Lusaka Regional Manager Handson Manda named the four provinces as Southern, Lusaka, Central and Eastern.

He tells QTV that of the 90,000 testing kits distributed, Lusaka alone accounted for over 30,000 kits, through various modes of distribution.

Mr Manda says the response from the public has been overwhelming, owing to the contribution and participation of the Ministry of Health in the program.
He has since described program as a success thus far, attributing this to political will on the part of government.

Mr. Manda has since stated that that with the positive response received from the initial four provinces, the society is now looking at rolling-out the program to other provinces in the country.

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51 COMMENTS

  1. I would like to see the President lead by example, he should go public and do a compulsory HIV test.

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    • The president doesn’t have HIV.

      HIV is between persons 21-39 generally.

      I don’t have HIV myself and I would refuse testing because I have only slept with one person.

      Conversely HIV is only in Africa and zambia particularly. Here we don’t worry about this disease which either way is easily controlled when contracted.

      I’m
      Speaking from knowledge and experience.

      Thanks

      Bb2014,2016

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    • Kenneth you are off target. The President didn’t say that you will be tested publicly and your results made public. All he said is when you are unwell and you happen to go to the hospital or clinic medical staff are at libertt to test for hiv if they suspect it without your consent period.

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    • Compulsory testing will stop untested people from accessing health services, people will now be dying from simple treatable illnesses just because the are afraid from going to clinics for fear of being tested.

      The announcement by EL sounds good but will kill people!

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    • Commissions which they used to get out of roads have run out as they have finished awarding all road contracts,now they want to be stealing through HIV testing kits and procurement of ARV’s.

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    • Hey Antonio Mwanza & FDD, what do you expect from a visionless dictator~Jonathan Lungu?

      When we have been screaming out loud enough to the people that visionless Dagama is a dictator~they thought it was jokes. Not only in designation, under blind Lungu & PF bandits Zambia is a dictatorship.
      A backwards lawyer who doesn’t respect patient confidentiality is a menace to society.
      Let visionless Lungu tell the people his HIV~AIDS publicly to serve as an example. Otherwise its rhetoric of blind Jameson.
      The Skeleton Key
      ~206~

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    • There is no dignity is acquiring HIV through several sexual encounters. Hospitals are for sick people to receive treatment and those who are not sick should stay home and enjoy their life. It is expensive to treat symptoms and hide the real cause (HIV) People are embarrassed to test but not embarrassed when wounding prostitutes. So who ever falls sick and shows signs of HIV must be tested to prescribe correct medication and protect others. In other countries it is a crime to infect people with HIV.

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    • Zambians like to debate issues they don’t understand with emotions.The govt. is right to test everybody presenting to a health facility.The best way forward to reduce HIV infections is through compulsory testing, then adopt the treat all HIV positive clients.Botswana adopted this strategy.The same sentiments being expressed in Zambia about human rights were raised.The govt.took a bold stand and implemented it.All the noise has now disappeared because the people can see the benefit of being tested and starting their treatment as early as possible

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  2. The move is welcome and FDD is right to oppose as testing compulsory is a serious violation of human dignity and has no place in a modern democratic society!

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    • Its not fear my friend but a leader leads by example. We need him to show us his results period thats when his pronouncement will hold water.

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    • Its not fear. Some of us don’t want any sort of medical test. We don’t want anyone putting things into our bodies period

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  3. It is only a dictator who can wake up from his hangover and force something onto the people. There is lunacy in State house

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  4. Indeed; “very scared” to be told the truth that you’ve got the virus in your body and that if you don’t start taking your meds you’re going to die? How can we allow such things to happen mwebantu? Little wonder then that, when Mr Mbuzi was advised to be ‘taking’ IRON tablets for his lack of certain Vitamins, he was seen going round carrying a “Pressing Iron”….

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  5. But coming to think of it, HIV testing is already mandatory for pregnant women. So really this is just an extension to everyone else.

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    • You are so wise. Most of the people here fail to differentiate between mandatory and compulsory. HIV tests are compulsory to all patients where as mandatory tests are mandatory to all healthcare givers. Compulsory has a choice embedded while mandatory has a legal binding embedded.

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  6. I support (1st time ) Antonio on this stand. Universally it’s not acceptable to force some one to undergo HIV testing. Even counseling is not a solution since there people who can’t entertain the fact that they positive. Solution is to intensify the campaign against the disease. There these 3 90s which is a good start . Definitely forcing people will just make the situation worse. It’s like in olden days when people with leprosy were forced to live outside the village. This didn’t eradicate the disease.

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  7. On this subject I support PF for mandatory testing; we have lost too many lives who could have lived longer if their status was known early; release HH;

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  8. I will agree with Mr Mwanza on this one. Let those who want to know their status do so voluntarily because they’ll definitely be prepared for counseling.

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    • Forced testing could be more appropriate for Defense Forces and Police Force. These brave men and women need to remain physically and mentally fit by virtue of their profession. They work night and day, come rain come sun, come sunshine. Ordinary people must enjoy their privacy and confidentiality. The fear of HIV must be allowed to take away freedom and liberty from ordinary members of the public. The government does not own citizens; the opposite is true.

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  9. Antonio reminds me of an immature eloping couple that insists that no one should tell them what to do as ‘marriage is between two people’ only to realize when in a crisis that the families are needed after all! Knowledge is power ba Antonio!

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  10. Let us go and test people, we need accurate figures to give us adequate quantities of ARVs we need daily , weekly, monthly and annually for budget purposes. Shipeni fye filya fine mwashipile pa Ku kumbatila. Fyalitusanga tiyenifye.

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  11. Medical officers still test people who very sick and in their custody but they do not inform them of their status. Now the president is just legalising that. Many people will not like this idea especially that even the World Health Organisation and other stakeholder see this as an abrogation of human rights. I cannot wait to hear these stakeholders’ views about this issue. Like FDD are saying, people must have the liberty to decide for themselves, the president may have been wrongly advised on this issue.

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  12. The most important thing is to look at what we have. why is it that decision like this one have to be made by other countries and institution. I THINK FOR ME its not a right decision, the government should instead advocate for emulation Sondashi formula so that if it works many people would be healed and many nations will subscribe to us and bring in lots of money. IS SONDASHI FORMULA WORKING OR NOT?

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  13. Mwanza should know that HIV testing will be done on sick people that take themselves to hospital. This has always been the case in some public health institutions. Why are people like Mwanza afraid of knowing their status? This is for the public good.

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  14. Mushota with a phd.. i read with interest that you and your partner want a child and that you have only SLEPT with one man. To have children you have to have SEX not just sleep with him. Hope ypu now conceive

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  15. DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions Lillian Siyunyi has entered a nolle prosequi in a case where UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and five others were charged with treason.

    The case came up this morning for commencement of trial, but the DPP informed the High Court that they were entering a nolle prosequi in the matter.

    On Monday, Hichilema and his co-accused pleaded not guilty to the treason charge.

    They have been incarcerated for four months, first at Lusaka Central Correctional Facility and later at Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison.

    Hichilema, Hamusonde Hamaleka, Muleya Hachinda, Laston Mulilanduba, Pretorius Haloba, and Wallace Chabala were arrested on April 11 and pleaded not guilty to treason when they took plea before judge Charles Chanda on Monday.

    Siyunyi…

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  16. Lungu knows nothing about laws. Nothing about ethics. Nothing about rights. How did this fella find himself in State house?

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  17. FDD you are a mature party. Teach United Party for Destruction (UPND) Party, what it is to be in opposition. HH’s release is not news please. I went round the city nobody is celebrating.

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  18. I am not a fun of Lungu, but as a health professional I think compulsory testing is good for most third world countries because of the promiscuity. When your doctor requests blood tests you are not asked about specifics , the blood request will have things like_ fbc, lft,u&e… how many people know what these stand for without the doctor explaining what is being requested? Do you get asked for consent?
    I do not agree with what someone saying that HIV is for the under 40’s and that it is only in Africa and Zambia….wrong and misleading !!! Its here too in UK.

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    • Health professional indeed, are you suggesting promiscuity only happens in “most” third world countries? What a subjective statement.

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    • We have pardoned under5 and released him not because we didn’t have evidence but just simply forgiven. We hope that he had now matured. Any silly acts he goes back.

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  19. A very mature, civilized, factual and correct response from FDD. Which is why it beggars belief that a cabinet can come up with a decision to implement compulsory HIV testing. Do they read, assess study results etc. before making such pronouncements? Or is this another part of the evidence that confirms a clueless government? How can they even say that this decision is ‘not subject to debate’? These dictatorial edicts are getting out of hand.

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  20. Miserable Hiakinde is back? oh my word and don’t want to see him ever again, not after those fires.

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  21. But its mandatory already for pregnant women in Zambia to be tested for HIV… So what’s the fuss about this boy Antonio Mwanza the only member of FDD and whom did he consult to issue this empty statement because even Edith Nawakwi who’s in hiding knows that pregnant women in Zambia have been tested for HIV from time immemorial…

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  22. Very mature and factual response from the FDD!
    The main thing here is respecting each person’s human rights. The governments’ job is to put measures of fighting the disease not bullying people to get tested. After finding people positive then what when you cant even sustain the supply of ARVs! We hear shortages of these drugs every now and then.
    If God himself, your creator has not forced you to follow him but given you a free will even when it will save your life eternally, who are you to force people to get tested??!!

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  23. Ka ba leya uko ba FDD they should know when to keep quiet. What about the rights of the uninfected people to not be infected?

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  24. The levels of ignorance in our country are frightening. As someone has already said, our mothers visiting maternity facilities already undergo these tests. I do not understand the fuss, honestly.

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  25. They should also make it compulsory for political parties to cut down on unnecessary treatment costs starting with FDD. Oppose what? Do you oppose doctors testing you for malaria, after all, it’s the biggest killer disease in Africa? If you want to stay anonymous don’t go to the hospital go and see a witch doctor instead…ala

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  26. The question is also: why does the government want people to test for HIV?

    The fact is that the national prevalence rate in Zambia is based on cooked up data, that massively overstates the prevalence of HIV. The way it is done by taking unrepresentative population samples (PMTCT), using an abbreviated testing procedure, and then extrapolating the results to the entire population. That is you end up with 13% of Zambians are HIV positive. Let me repeat: this is a fraud. Let’s get the statistics right first, and then make policy.

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  27. I have always been in support of president Lungu but now am beginning to sense that there could be something wrong with him. In as much as he means well the way he wants to force people into testing is not right .for me personally there is no amount of counseling that I will be OK even after testing positive. What I need is to be spoken to time after time so that am finally persuaded to take the test. If am forced to I will jst end up dying very fast. Many people testing positive will end up dying which is even tantamount to shooting everyone with the HIV! Let the gvt invest in sensitisation instead of tactfully trying to eliminate those with the HIV!!

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