January 9, 2013
Education authorities in Guangdong province, China recently produced a draft regulation for public consultation. The regulation stated that persons with HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital warts, or any of three other sexually transmitted diseases would be screened out at physical examinations during the recruitment process. The draft would also ban persons with rheumatoid arthritis from working as teachers. Previous discriminatory clauses banning candidates with high blood pressure, serious shortsightedness, disabilities, and facial paralysis had been removed.
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Guangdong have criticized education officials as unfair and misinformed. Yu Fangqiang, director of the NGO Justice for All, commented that it was foolish to ban HIV-positive teachers as students are not at risk of infection in daily school life. He noted that the disease is only transmitted through unprotected sex, infected blood, or mother-to- infant transmission. Lu Jun, director of Beijing Yirenping Center, noted that the draft conflicted with a state council regulation guaranteeing equal employment rights for HIV-infected persons. He commented that the ban reverted to an attitude behind the times, because it evaluated the morals of persons with certain diseases. Jun also pointed out that most STDs can be cured.
Approximately 44 percent of 330 Internet users who responded to an online poll voted against HIV-infected persons working as teachers. They reasoned that small children who were not aware of HIV prevention measures could be infected from bleeding wounds.