The parliament in the Indonesian province of Papua has rejected plans to implant microchips in some HIV-positive people following opposition from government officials, health care workers and advocates, the AP/Google.com reports. According to lawmaker Weinard Watori, the parliament on Tuesday agreed to drop a section of the health bill currently under consideration that would have called for the tagging of some HIV-positive people with computer chips inserted under the skin (Karmini, AP/Google.com, 12/16).
The HIV/AIDS Handling bylaw would have allowed the implantation of microchips in "sexually aggressive" people living with HIV/AIDS, the Jakarta Post reports. According to Komarudin Watubun, deputy legislative council speaker, Papua's provincial legislative council earlier this week did not endorse the bylaw because the "legislative and executive branches had different perceptions on the use of microchips" for HIV-positive people. Komarudin added that the executive branch viewed the bylaw as violating human rights, while the legislative councilors saw it as "an effort to build awareness within society" (Somba, Jakarta Post, 12/16).
The AP/Yahoo! News reports that there had been strong opposition to the bylaw -- including from Papua's Vice Governor Alex Hasegem, who called the plan a "violation of human rights" -- as well as from health workers and advocates, some of whom called the bylaw "abhorrent." They added that sex education and increased condom use are the best ways to curb the spread of HIV in Papua (Karmini, AP/Yahoo! News, 12/16). Hasegem said that the plan to implant microchips into people living with HIV/AIDS was not "in accordance" with the "principles" that should be applied to addressing HIV-positive populations, adding that implanting microchips is a "form of stigmatizing" (Jakarta Post, 12/16). Papua's parliament is scheduled to conclude discussion of other issues in the health bill, including efforts to curb the spread of HIV, by the end of the week, according to Watori (AP/Google.com, 12/16).
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