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Zambian Minister Criticized for Suggesting Quarantining AIDS Patients

November 15, 2002

On Thursday, AIDS activists criticized a Zambian official for his proposal that everyone with HIV be forced into isolation camps. During a parliamentary debate Wednesday over a bill to form a National AIDS Council secretariat to coordinate Zambia's response to AIDS, Alex Chama, deputy minister for Luapula province, said, "[Those infected] are busy spreading the problem. It is not fair. They should be isolated to a specific camp until such time that they become negative." Leaving aside Chama's false statement that HIV-positive people can suddenly become HIV-negative, AIDS activists said it was sad to see a government minister express such attitudes in a country where an estimated 20 percent of people are HIV-positive. Augustine Chola, chair of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said people like Chama are trying to move society backward and do not deserve to represent Zambians in government. Parliament is debating the legislation so as to qualify for $42 million from the global AIDS fund.

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Adapted from:
Associated Press

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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