Revoke mandatory testing of HIV proclamation immediately, people living with HIV tell Govt

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National AIDS council joins the march passed during the Nation HIV testing, counseling and treatment day

Organizations of people living with HIV in Zambia have appealed to the Government to rescind the decision and revoke the mandatory HIV proclamation forthwith.

The Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC), Community Initiative for Malaria and Tuberculosis (CITAMplus), Coalition for Zambian Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COZWHA), Network of ARV Users and Zambian Network of Religious Living or Personally Affected by (ZANERELA) have stated that the decision to introduce mandatory HIV testing is illegal and unconstitutional.

In a statement, the five organizations said compulsory HIV testing should be stopped forthwith as it is illegal and unconstitutional in Zambia.

“We would like to commend the Zambian Government on the Launch of HIV Counseling Testing and Treatment Day (HCTT) on the 15th August, 2017 by His Excellence Edgar Chagwa Lungu. This intervention will certainly help in putting more people on treatment that will be found to be HIV positive,” they said.

“However, we express deep concern on the recent announcement during the launch by The Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu that HIV testing, counseling and treatment is now compulsory in Zambia for any person seeking medical treatment in public healthcare facilities. We therefore, appeal to the Government to rescind the decision and revoke the proclamation forthwith,” they stated.

“Compulsory HIV testing is illegal and unconstitutional in Zambia as both the Supreme Court and the High Court in Zambia have found that consent is only present if it is provided freely, without undue influence, coercion, fraud, misrepresentation or mistake”, said Felix Mwanza National Director for TALC.

“While the policy aims, according to President Lungu, to improve HIV testing and treatment adherence rates, on the contrary, coercive measures fuel stigma and drive people away from healthcare facilities” said Carol Nawina Nyirenda Executive for CITAMplus.

“Informed consent is critical to ensure that individuals are empowered in managing their health. It has been shown that an individual’s sense of self-efficacy plays a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges regarding one’s health, with directly-evidenced clinical benefits” said Mable Mwale Coordinator for COZWHA.

“The approach also violates healthcare ethics and is contrary to international standards, including World Health Organisation and UNAIDS guidelines on HIV testing and treatment. International guidelines on HIV and human rights from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) state “public health legislation should ensure that HIV testing of individuals should only be performed with the specific informed consent of that individual”, said Kenly Sikwese from Afrocab.

L”Exceptions to voluntary testing would need specific judicial authorisation, granted only after due evaluation of the important considerations involved in terms of privacy and liberty.”1 The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) similarly state that HIV testing must “only [be] conducted with informed consent”.

They said forcing people to test for HIV or to take HIV treatment creates a disincentive to voluntarily access healthcare services.

“The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health has emphasised the negative public health impacts of forced or compulsory treatment: “Just as linking appropriate counselling and treatment to voluntary testing services is an enabling incentive for testing, compulsory treatment measures are a disincentive,” concluded Kennedy Chungu Palangwa from ZANERELA.

70 COMMENTS

  1. +17
    -1
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    From arresting oppositions, state of emergency, now to patients. disaster after disaster.

    • +8
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      LUngu himself should have given an example by having a public HIV test, thats what leaders do, not forcing people to do what you yourself as a leader cannot do. You declare a compulsory mandatory HIV testing but just after saying that when every citizen expect you to take the leading role you go for BP check up. lead by example sir.

    • +12
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      vote

      A clinic treats 500 patients/day. Do they have enough counselors to handle these number?

      HIV testing, just like forcing DNA testing is a violation of anyone’s human rights.

      lungu should know this. The problem is that he’s a dull lawyer.

    • +4
      -12
      vote

      The world is changing. Say what you like, protest all you want, mandatory HIV testing is here to stay.

    • +7
      -8
      vote

      Many of those carrying the virus consider it a private affair and a priviledge to infect others with it indiscriminately. How fair is that?

    • +5
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      vote

      @Meimatungu,
      Which World is changing by foregoing CONSENT in HIV testing? Do you really live in USA as the flag suggests? Do not try to defend the indefensible – Anything you say sounds hypocritical and self-serving.

    • 0
      -2
      vote

      @BRABUS..
      Please understand that Meimankundyu is HIV positive herself! That is why she is ever bitter and you would expect her to say that because for her part it is like ukufilila munsenga for more people who wont even get the necessary counselling and free drugs she pops up daily to join her club!!

    • +1
      -4
      vote

      HIV/Aids is disease that reveals immorality. Unfortunately there are innocent victims as part of great cost for this misbehaviour. Children suffer, # of street kids increases, spouses suffer, nation loses after investing so much in individual all due to carelessness of usually male individuals. Just imagine how many times this repeats itself with current estimated 1.2m already infected. We need to be serious as country to fight this pandemic differently to arrest colossal cost to nation. Nation can’t be put at ransom just because few individuals don’t want to be embarrassed. Decision by state to step in & protect & care for all citizens is long overdue. This is no longer personal but national issue. Im sure law has exceptions when very existence of nation is threatened. God Bless Zambia!

    • +3
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      vote

      INFACT WE SHOULD BEGIN TO PUBLISH THEIR NAMES SO THAT GETTING AIDS IS VOLUNTARY. THESE ARE THE SAME F00LS INFECTING OTHERS WITH HIV. All those walking into a clinic or hospital TEST THEM

    • +3
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      vote

      Entrusting management of this pandemic to individual hasn’t worked. Many of my relatives that I’ve lost over the years (MTSRIP) have waited too late to start treatment mainly because they wanted to hide behind this fallacy of avoiding embarrassment. No one could help them when help was there. Now they’ve left a trail of other infected people, unsupported children & spouses, loss of investment by their parents & state in their education etc. I know there many who are affected this way like me. Wake up Zambians. We can’t let this pandemic control us & our future. Let’s face it head on. This is great move by GRZ. God Bless Zambia

    • +6
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      @1.7 BRABUS..

      Even the USA is changing. They now have Donald Trump as President. I lost my sister to AIDS in Kabwe. The who infected her with the virus is still alive today. He knew he was HIV positive, but was too shy to tell his wife – sister. Shed died. He is still alive – infecting many other people. I don’t believe this is fair. You are talking about “CONSENT” – what consent? Did my sister consent to her untimely demise?

    • +2
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      vote

      @ 1.8 Chilyata

      You chose to have the virus. The whole world will soon know that you are HIV positive. I did not have to consent to the HIV test when I was getting my Green Card. It is compulsory. And that is not the Zambian government that made it compulsory. It is the government of the United States of America, the same USA that you are talking about is the one that subjected me to a compulsory HIV test. The question of CONSENT did not arise. On the whole, it is good to know one’s HIV status. If you are negative, the tendency is for one to want to preserve that status by proper behavior.

    • 0
      -1
      vote

      @ 1.8 Chilyata

      Only God know how many innocent victims you have infected with the HIV virus, none of whom ever CONSENTED to be infected.

    • vote

      @1.8 Chilyata

      You are sick. They will soon insert you with a chip to monitor your predatory activities.

    • vote

      @1.3 Davies Kaputo, exactly my point, why commit yourself to a policy which scares you to the bones?

  2. +4
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    vote

    A little overboard this one is, eh Dr Minister of Health? Please take it back to the drawing board and get back to us with correct corrections next month.
    It is a distraction, we want to concentrate our energies on development , which includes re-humanising **********.

    • vote

      The issue of HIV testing is really bad news, even @3, Terrible is against it, for him to oppose something coming from Lungu, it must be really, really bad news.

  3. +2
    -1
    vote

    The Ministry of Health has partnered with The National Road Fund agency( NRFA) to do mandatory testing on all toll gates. U think u can run away…..tizagwila no pima

  4. +5
    -4
    vote

    Bollocks, get a grip people, enough is enough. People have suffered enough, it not only zambia this is happening. Here in the UK, one of the highest hiv infection in the borough of lamberth, there have introduced compulsory hiv testing for any one who register with the gp. Innocent wives and children have suffered. Don’t Bury your heads in the sand. We have to support the government on this one.

    • +2
      -1
      vote

      @Chikumbi,
      Which UK? I live here in UK and they have NOT foregone CONSENT when testing for HIV. You, my friend are shamelessly lying through your teeth.You are scum of the earth.

    • +1
      0
      vote

      @Chikumbi or Chikamba!
      You are a the King of LIARS! Are you not even ashamed of yourself? In addition to my Professional career and a Businessman, I am a counsellor for Colhabour covering Stockwell and South Vauxhall’s Victoria Embankment in Lambeth and I know for sure that there is no compulsory testing in Lambeth or indeed any other disease NOT even Ebola. So Chikamba should NOT mislead other people here!

    • +2
      0
      vote

      An hiv test is something you request for personally in the UK, don’t tell lies.

      Such madness which gets tolerated in Zambia where human life is not respected or loved by the authorities cannot pass in the UK, and that’s one of the strengths of this country, REASON generally rules over here, and this is part of the reason the U.K. Still leads and Zambia follows.

    • vote

      @7.3 Eye-of-Horus

      What is the rate of infections of the HIV virus in the UK compared to Zambia? Could it be you are comparing apples and grapes?

  5. +3
    -1
    vote

    This is in line with the New World Order to maintain the world population at not more than 5 billion. With more than 7 billion people on earth, the powers that be are in a hurry to depopulate the earth. HIV, Ebola, H1n1 etc are tools that have been earmarked for this exercise. Poor African and Afro-Asian countries are the immediate targets. The HIV tests will find most of the population to be positive. This will in turn force alot of people to be on ARVs. These drugs are doused with components that have capabilities to terminate DNA, like those found in most anti-biotics. Cases of infertility will escalate. Mass deaths will foll

    • vote

      Yes and as usual places like Zambia, our land, is their laboratory, we are pawns of the world economic, social and scientific elite.

      They will continue killing us and creating misery in our society because we have chosen religious bigotry, tribalism, and Greco Roman politics over our culture in this lifetime. Our culture entails Ubuntu, collectivism and generally using the mind and spirit God gave us.

      We have forsaken the way.. future generations don’t deserve this.

  6. +1
    0
    vote

    …..mass deaths will follow. In countries where this is not much achievable, domestic terrorism will be high and encouraged. Racism will be legal. The black race will be convinced to take the backseat in everything. Blacks and other races that are considered third class will become vulnerable and endangered. The NWO is slowly becoming a reality. Zambia unfortunately is also dancing to the tune of the dark world

    • 0
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      vote

      @Batu,
      How old are you? This is a very childish conspiracy theory which should be ignored with the contempt it deserves.

  7. +3
    0
    vote

    Mandatory HIV testing makes sense. We must fight against the stigma associated with HIV AIDS. That disease is as biological as malaria. Why should someone living with it have to be condemned to live in the shadows for the rest of their lives?

    • vote

      @Meimatungu,
      Which World is foregoing CONSENT in HIV testing? Do you really live in USA as the flag suggests? Do not try to defend the indefensible – Anything you say sounds hypocritical and self-serving.

    • vote

      @12.1 BRABUS..

      Laws are made by human beings. Even the USA you are talking about, has the capacity to change. If it is a bad law, people are going to fight it. If it is not, then you are just wasting your time. Zambia could be setting a precedence. Many other countries soon follow suit. How did the story of same sex marriage start? One country or state legalized it. Many others have followed since. Even those who are still indignant, it is only a question of time.

      Pray that this is a bad law. If it not, then just be prepared to live with it. It may be here to stay. The fact is, someone who is HIV positive can, and they do, knowingly infect innocent individuals. It makes sense that a law that compels everyone to be tested is instituted. That would be a fair play field.

  8. 0
    -1
    vote

    People need to know their status it is good for the nation and families if there is means to do so ,I support the idea why ignore the obvious . However no to be publicised better this is done without waste of time and politicking this issue doesnt just concern those living the virus but every zambian including the govt.
    If testing was mandatory proberbly it will help reduce these infections we are stunned with , if you already know your status why do you worry !
    The problem of this malady is it has affeced every zambian it is not your problem alone even your children relatives the whole commuties are at pains to see the innocent also taken away just because the few selfish charactors hidding behind screens of ignorance.

  9. 0
    -2
    vote

    Government, do not revoke this declaration. And make willful infection of another with HIV should br made criminal and attract jail sentence. Some of these people demonstrating may have been infecting others, knowingly.

    Let victims stand and say it.

    • +2
      0
      vote

      @Preacher,
      Clearly you have not read and understood what this is all about. CONSENT is what separates humans from animals. This is about CONSENT.

  10. +2
    0
    vote

    The hospital attends minimum number of 600patients per day at the opd, in one week will be 4200 test of Hiv, does the gvt have the capacity to supply these kits to all the hospitals and clinics ?can you imagine being tested for hiv when you have dental caries etc.
    it will be better if they say that it will be compulsory at the pediatric dpt,

    • +4
      -2
      vote

      My friend next time you visit zambia we shall pima you. Whether you say in USA it’s illegal or not here in zed kupimisha. Zed is zed and USA is USA. I hope you understand the difference. What are you scared of. For you infecting innocent people is what you consider to be human rights. Fuseki.

    • 0
      -1
      vote

      @15.1 HH OVAL HEAD

      Very well said. Too many innocent people are being infected by those who know their HIV statuses. It’s simply not fair.

    • 0
      -3
      vote

      @15.1 HH OVAL HEAD

      CORRECTION:
      I am in complete agreement with your view. Too many innocent people are being infected by those who know their HIV status. It’s simply not fair.

    • +2
      0
      vote

      @HH OVAL HEAD,
      @Meimatungu,
      CONSENT is what separates humans from animals. So you two think you can simply coerce a population of human beings like animals into a dip tank just like that without huge psychological negative consequences? So you think in your limited minds that WHO and UNAIDS error-ed in the five Cs (5Cs)? Imwe babili imwe muli ba lundondo sana.

    • vote

      @ 15.4 BRABUS..

      How may of those who are being deliberately infected with the HIV virus consent to being infected? Are they animals?

  11. 0
    -1
    vote

    @15.1 HH OVAL HEAD

    CORRECTION:
    Very well said. Too many innocent people are being infected by those who know their HIV status. It’s simply not fair.

  12. +1
    -2
    vote

    Malabish. The president made it clear that this is official government policy and therefore not debatable. Those who find it illegal should stop making noise and head strait to court.
    As the health minister mentioned these people making the loudest noise about mandatory hiv testing are the same people who have been busy infecting young girls. Unfortunately their time is up as they now have nowhere to hide.
    Pregnant mothers are tested without consent and it had never been inhuman.
    It is human to test for diabetes, malaria, bp, tuberculosis, syphilis, and any other STIs without seeking consent, but when it comes to HIV it immediately becomes inhuman. I don’t know how consistent that is.
    If 81% of admissions in hospitals is HIV related, then we will reduce the admission rate by 81% if…

    • +1
      0
      vote

      @Namulabe,
      You, my friend have lost the plot. Please read @18-commentor below and understand the consequences of what you are blindly supporting. And read my comment @15.4 above.

  13. +1
    0
    vote

    aaaash! we shall starting going to ng’angas and sangomas for treatment nw for fear of being tested for HIV at hospitals!!!!!!!!

    • vote

      @Commentor,
      Well spoken, you are exactly right in reacting like that. And that’s the reaction AND the problem when PF Govt fails to sensitise the population, convince them and get their consent and support in HIV testing.

  14. +2
    -2
    vote

    Brabus. When you reach airport do they seek conset to pima you for ibola. Do they seek consent to screen you. Chosa belt. Chosa nsapato. Chosa foni mu poketi.

  15. +2
    -1
    vote

    What else did you expect with Dr Chilufyanya as minister of health? Wrong candidate for the noble job!

  16. vote

    @brabus, do u know that pregnant women are not asked for consent when they go for maternity. Some find they are positive, only to discover their husbands or boyfriends always knew they were positive.

    I one of those people who was victimised by a woman who was positive. Injadnto javebher bitterly admonished in the church.

    Unfortunately she still went ahead, a year later, and infected a church mate who had promised marriage and we’re courting.

    We have people who take risks because they are not sure about their status, but are positive, and spread this virus.

    Our adults are sleeping with teenagers thinking they are too young to be positive, and end up infecting them.

    This rubbish must be dealt with.
    You go to UTH, and see number of sick people. Some sleeping on the floor…

  17. 0
    -2
    vote

    Cry aloud and crack your heads as much as you would like to. Compulsory HIV test is here to stay.

  18. +2
    -1
    vote

    There is more hope than never before as far as the fight against Hiv / aids Pendamic is concerned. The government initiative would be better if people are encouraged to take the test , rather than mandatory testing. the authorities should instead highlight the benefits of testing , if positive outcome , the benefits of taking the arvs . I sincerely urge the authorities to go back to the draw board on this one .

    • vote

      Encouraging people to go for voluntary testing & counselling is what we have been doing the past 37 years. Our achievement is 1.2m more infected people, so many loved ones dead, so many street kids, so much lost effort & cost to the nation. As somebody has said, if we want to fly out we have to go to the airport & we are searched every where without our consent. Is this against the law? No. By choosing to use GRZ facility you have to comply with rules for doing so. If you go to GRZ hospital GRZ will ensure it’s imposing its health policy to protect the nation & keep the nation safe & healthy. It will be irresponsible if it didn’t. The past GRZs have been reckless in this respect. God Bless Zambia

  19. +2
    -2
    vote

    Infecting innocent victims with the HIV virus is brutal. It is cruel. Mandatory testing is here to stay. Many have died who never CONSENTED to being infected. Were they not human beings. Did they not have the right to life like the rest of us?

  20. +4
    -1
    vote

    Its just another s t u p I d law made by s t u p I d leaders that cannot be logistically done or enforced. Say you test someone today and next week they present to another clinic for some ailment. Should they be carrying a copy of their result? will it not lead to the results being forged and all sorts of corruption? how frequent will the tests be? Cause I can test negative today and get it in a week. Are we going to test people every year? six months? three months? Also you cannot just test and leave person hanging there, you need to proceed to do CD4 count etc, you need capacity to commence ARVs or monitor if not commencing. To be done this needs a NATIONAL health COMPUTERISED SYSTEM which is a pipe dream with f o o l s like Lungu in power. Im so glad I left that s t u p I d country…

  21. +2
    -1
    vote

    You can be HIV positive for many years without exhibiting symptoms and spread it without ever visiting a clinic or hospital. That’s how its spread in majority of cases, how is testing only people presenting to hospitals going to fix that? You wanna abuse peoples rights at least do it properly and test everyone in offices an schools etc, also in parliament and government ministries. Total nonsense.

  22. vote

    The statistics we are being given as the basis for the mandatory HIV testing policy not making sense. We are told the HIV rate in Zambia is 14%. Which means 86% do not have the HIV virus.Then we are told that most of the 14% HIV positive Zambians are on ARt.A success story.Then we are again being told that 81% of admissions or referrals to hospitals have HIV opportunist presentation. This means that Malaria, Cancers, Surgical cases account for only 19% of cases in hospitals It also tells us that the 14% are actually very sick and being referred to hospital’ despite being on ART. It doesn’t add up.The only way it can make sense is lthat 86% of Zambia’s are HIV positive .Hence 81% referrals to hospitals are HIV related. With a variance of + – 6%. Which is which?

  23. vote

    They know what they are talking about. On the other hand Lungu doesnt know what he is talking about

  24. vote

    [email protected] that was a cheap shot my friend, do you work for the NHS? Are you aware of the UK new guidelines of tackling hiv, are you Awre of chemsex in the gay population? I have been working for the nhs since 1997, thanks

  25. +1
    0
    vote

    I happen to be a UK resident as well, just like @7 Chikumbi, @7.1Brabus and @7.2 @Chinyanta. In England and Scotland, there are Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinics which provide confidential and comprehensive sexual health services and are free. Their services include Contraception, Pregnancy, HIV Sexually transmitted infections (STI) and Services for 24 years and under. All the tests done by clinics are free. They provide free condoms and contraceptive pills. If you want to know your HIV status, you simply walk there and tell them you want this test and explain why you want it done. You do this at your own volition so the question of Consent does not come in. Anybody can go to these sexual health clinics, no matter what their age.

  26. vote

    But how do you contract HIV? Don’t sleep with anyone without protection (condoms). So the argument of willfully infecting others is a non-starter. Most adults consent to having sex, and how they have it, whether live or with protection. HIV testing should be free, voluntary, confidential, not by force.

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