Anti-discrimination laws in China state that people who have HIV or AIDS are entitled to equal employment and medical treatment, but three men from three different provinces claimed that they were denied government teaching jobs because their physical exams showed that they were HIV-positive. All three had passed the employment exams but were rejected by three different education departments. AFP reports:
“Discriminatory rules against AIDS patients in the public servants’ physical examination fly in the face of Chinese law,” Yu Fangqiang, a lawyer and activist with the pressure group Tianxia Gong told AFP.
Yu said the education departments and a court that refused to hear the case of one of the men had violated the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases and Employment Promotion laws and the Regulation on the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS.
UNAIDS China country coordinator Mark Stirling said the organisation was watching China’s reaction to the appeal closely.
“There should be no discrimination. Employment should be based solely on qualifications, not on a teacher’s HIV status,” Stirling told AFP. “The risk of HIV-AIDS transmission in a classroom setting is virtually nil.”
According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are 434,000 registered HIV and AIDS patients in China, but there are estimates that predict 787,000 carriers by the end of 2011. Xinhua adds:
China has been boosting distribution of HIV/AIDS tests among spouses of carriers and others who have close contact with them, the statement said, adding that a total of 67.45 million HIV tests were conducted across the country between January and October, up 16.5 percent year-on-year.
These tests found 61,000 HIV carriers and AIDS patients.
The latest figures from the CDC showed that China has registered 434,000 HIV carriers and AIDS patients, as well as 88,000 deaths due to the disease, since 1985, when the first case was found in the country.