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Zambian President Opposes Mandatory HIV Testing for Candidates

September 30, 2005

On Wednesday, President Levy Mwanawasa expressed dismay over a proposal from the Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) that all presidential candidates undergo HIV testing and disclose their results.

Last week, the doctors' group called for mandatory testing of all candidates ahead of the 2006 elections, saying HIV/AIDS could affect their ability to hold office. "Why should you have somebody who has to be on a certain drug to work as president? HIV and AIDS have a lot of mental connotations," ZMA President Peter Mwaba said in a statement.

Mwanawasa said he was shocked that such a proposal would come from doctors, whose ethical code requires them to keep all patient information confidential. "I have no intention of publicizing my medical records," he said in a televised interview.

"If I said for doctors to practice they should undergo an HIV test otherwise they can contaminate patients, will it not be discriminatory?" Mwanawasa continued. "I have no problem with undergoing an HIV test but it is going to be democratic. I do not expect this to come from doctors."

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Excerpted from:
Agence France Presse

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