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State considers forced HIV and hepatitis tests

Published: 30 Nov 2012 15:52 GMT+01:00

The provision, included in a new state law being considered on public safety and security, is supposed to protect people such as police officers and emergency medical technicians whose jobs include a particularly high rate of infection, , officials said.

State interior ministry officials denied an earlier report in the regional newspaper Mittledeutsche Zeitung, that the law would target people in specific risk groups, such as homosexuals, drug abusers, the homeless, and foreigners.

"That is false," state Interior Ministry spokesman Michael Kraska told The Local.

His office argues that several other German states, including Hamburg and Hesse, already have such provisions in effect. "We're a normal state," he said.

The provision would enable for example, an emergency medical technician accidentally stuck by a needle from someone thought to be infected with HIV or hepatitis, to ask a judge to force that person to be tested. That judicial approval could come quickly over the phone, Kraska said.

Until now the person suspected of having HIV or hepatitis would have to agree to such a test.

Current news on the measure provoked outrage in gay and lesbian and AIDS relief circles - just a day before international World AIDS day, December 1.

Markus Ulrich, of the Lesbian and Gay Federation of Germany (LSVD), said in a statement: "In the opinion of the LSVD, the planned forced HIV test is a completely unnecessary stigmatization of groups of people, without any medical benefit. It abets discrimination, of all things, one day before World AIDS day."

He said the forced tests were based on irrational fears and prejudices, and that the federal Interior Ministry had questioned their constitutionality. And he pointed to figures from the Robert Koch Institute, which show that 0.05 percent of the population in Saxony-Anhalt was HIV positive.

The measure is currently being considered by a state parliamentary committee, where it can be discussed and debated, according to the state Interior Ministry. The ministry argues that the state's law regulating police conduct was one of the few in Germany with an explicit ban on discrimination based on sexual identity.

The Local/mbw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:48 November 30, 2012 by Englishted
Oh dear a big payday coming for human rights lawyers.

This will never ever pass the European court of H.R. but will keep the gravy train running for a few years till it gets there.
22:17 November 30, 2012 by zeddriver
But I thought Europe was about government intrusion (the nanny state) and was supported by most. After all. It's all about health and safety. Sure. A few rights and privies might be forfeited. But. It's for the protection of everyone.

Imagine. The LSVD taking the same view as those redneck Americans that don't want the government intruding in their lives and just want to be left alone.
23:05 December 1, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
1933 - 1945 all over again ... REMEMBER ...
02:00 December 3, 2012 by Onlythetruth
Sure, test people who are a danger to the people charged with trying to cope with their dangerous behavior. The law should spell out exactly what behavior would mandate the tests.
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