Tuesday, December 23, 2008

HIV positive have right to marry - right not be quarantined BUT what about "NO to mandatory testing".

While I was expecting some to join me and say NO to the government approved mandatory HIV-screening of Muslims (and maybe non-Muslims later on) before they can get married in Malaysia, I was shocked by an obviously ignorant response coming from the Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar of Perak...and thereafter to host of comments against what allegedly the Perak MB said.
Muslims planning to marry will have to undergo mandatory HIV screening from next year.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it was worrying that HIV infection among Malaysian women had increased from 1.1% in 1990, to 5.02% in 1997 and to 16.3% last year.

“Traditionally, HIV infections are due to sharing of needles among drug addicts. However, increasingly, transmission is through active sexual relations,” he added. - Star, 19/12/2008 - Mandatory HIV screening for Muslims planning to tie the knot

It may be good to consider my earlier postings on the issue before we move on
- .No HIV tests - Muslims in Malaysia cannot marry from 2009 onwards..
- No to pre-marital compulsory HIV screening in Malaysia for Muslims or non-Muslims
- AIDs Council rejects MANDATORY pre-marital HIV screening

There are 2 issues, that people will have to express their position on:-

1- Should there be compulsory HIV-screening for couples that want to be married in Malaysia?

2- Should persons who are HIV- positive be permitted to marry in Malaysia?

JAKIM's position (now the BN government's position) with regard to Muslims - Compulsory HIV-screening, but after that couples can still get married if they want to.

Perak MB position(also the Pakatan Rakyat position until they come out with a different view):- Persons who are HIV postive is not allowed to marry - they should be 'quarantined'.

Muslim couples should not marry if one or both of them are confirmed to be HIV-positive, said Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

He said it would be “grossly unfair” to the couple and to any child they have if they were to tie the knot.

“I believe that if you are a confirmed carrier, there needs to be a quarantine” and he or she should undergo all possible treatment, he told reporters after meeting mosque officials here on Sunday.

“Only then one would review whether he or she can get married. I think it is a gross error to allow somebody very sick like that, an HIV carrier, to marry.

“It would be even worse if both are HIV-positive. You would be passing the disease to the embryo, it’s unjust,” he said.

Nizar said that persons with HIV would find it difficult to lead a normal life because they would be beset by psychological and emotional problems.- , Star,21/12/2008 - Muslims with HIV should not marry: Perak MB

What about mandatory HIV-screening of Muslims if they want to get married - which will be in effect come 1st January 2009 - as stated earlier by JAKIM. What does the civil society group say about that? What is the position of the various political parties?

There has been much comment in the press on the question of quarantining a HIV positive person, and the right of HIV-positive persons to marry. Generally, they were against any 'quarantining' and for the right to marry.

National Council of Women's Organisations deputy president Datuk Ramani Gurusamy said not allowing people with HIV to marry would be to infringe on their human rights....

...Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism president Datuk A. Vaithilingam said he was disappointed with Nizar's statement.

"My advice is for him to visit the Malaysian AIDS Council and spend at least two hours there. Get a good briefing for a better understanding of the disease."...

...She[Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez] said denying a HIV-positive person the chance to marry was also a violation of human rights and those who wanted to marry should instead be counselled on how to manage their marriage.

"This kind of response, after so many years, shows we are still a long way off in giving a more humane and dignified treatment to those with HIV."- New Straits Times, 22/12/2008 - Nizar slammed over HIV quarantine proposal

Only the MCA has come out against MANDATORY pre-marital HIV-screening...

Commenting on pre-marital HIV screening, MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said it should not be made mandatory.

“It gives people a false sense of security. You could be infected today, do the test and nothing happens. It doesn’t mean you don’t have HIV.

“It also infringes on human rights. There should not be any force involved in testing,” he told reporters after attending a karaoke contest here on Sunday.

Dr Chua, the former Health Minister, said the best way to prevent HIV infection was through education, dissemination of information and doing the screening voluntarily.- Star, 23/12/2008 - Mandatory testing is primitive, says Chang

The title of the Star report also suggests that GERAKAN is also against mandatory testing bout alas nothing in the report to support that contention.

I say that we should definitely increase the budget and efforts to educate persons about HIV and AIDs - so that we would not have such foolish proposals like 'quarantines'...

The perception that those who are infected with HIV cannot marry, have sex or even have children is wrong.

AIDS Action and Res­earch Group (AARG) convenor Assoc Prof Dr Ismail Baba (pic) said a person who is HIV-positive can still lead a normal life, get married and have children as long as they are given proper counselling and treatment.

He said the chance of a HIV-positive person getting a child who is also infected was 30%. - Star, 23/12/2008 - Expert: HIV carriers can have healthy kids

The Malaysian AIDs Council is against MANDATORY testing - so let us all also take that position. The freedom and right of personal choice must be recognized and respected.


Nordin said...

Doesn't the spouse have the right to know what would they be getting from their partner? Doesn't he/she have the right to know the consequent they have to bear later?

As a responsible government, You should be monitoring the situation and manage it.

Look what happen to the return TB, malaria, polio to the public which some were infected from the foreigners.

If you're so concern about the right of the individual, then you've to consider the right of others not to infected.

I mean no harm to hiv people, and they must get the proper treatment and we must assist them in all possible ways. But as a government, you must have control over the situations, not just being reactive in handling the situations.

AnakMelaka said...

Now the true colors are showing from PAS ... hudud, quarantine, working behind with umno ... restrictions galore :-)

DAP & PKR should kick these extremists out!