HIV bill is wrong
There is no medical basis for B.C. Labour and Citizens' Services Minister Margaret MacDiarmid's Bill 39, which contributes to misinformation and stigmatization of those living with HIV/AIDS.
The legislation would force individuals whose bodily fluids come into contact with emergency workers to undergo blood tests for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis A, B and C.
However, there have been no known cases of HIV transmission through saliva or open wounds and the transmission of HIV in these circumstances is merely considered a "theoretical" risk.
The legislation also threatens British Columbians' right to consent, privacy, and bodily integrity. HIV testing must be conducted with the informed consent of the tested, with pre-and post-counselling and guaranteed confidentiality.
Instead of compulsory testing, B.C.'s first response personnel need education on HIV transmission and prevention and universal precautions in treating everyone.
Jessica Wood, AIDS Vancouver
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