New Zealand Will Bar
HIV Victims - Asia May |
Pass Africa In AIDS
Totals Soon
WELLINGTON - New Zealand was implementing a ban on all HIV-positive immigrants because the country "can't afford to save the world,'' Immigration Minister Tuariki Delamere said on Wednesday.
Senior government ministers decided on Tuesday that, effective July 1 next year, all new immigrants, refugees and anyone wanting to live or work in the country for more than two years would be subject to an HIV/AIDS test to be taken before arrival in New Zealand.
Anyone failing the test will be barred entry. The move brings New Zealand in line with Australian immigration policy.
"These people do pose a risk to New Zealanders,'' Delamere told Radio New Zealand.
Delamere said the ban included refugees recommended under a United Nations quota programme and that such dangers must be considered ahead of any humanitarian obligations.
"I feel this is a very valid form of discrimination,'' he said. About 750 refugees enter New Zealand under the programme each year and undergo a test voluntarily.
New Zealand AIDS Foundation executive director Kevin Hague said New Zealand shouldn't be "picking and choosing, saying we'll only take the nice ones.''
"If the government couldn't afford all the services associated with taking refugees, it should take fewer in order to provide the care,'' the Evening Post newspaper reported him as saying.
Of 105 people freshly identified as HIV-positive in New Zealand last year, 43 were refugees, the Dominion newspaper reported, adding that no refugees had refused to take the voluntary screening test.
Asia May Soon Pass Africa In AIDS Victims
BEIJING (Reuters) - Asia could have more AIDS cases than Africa by 2005 unless precautions are taken seriously, a senior Chinese health official said on Wednesday.
"Asia's HIV-infected and AIDS cases are growing much faster than Africa," said Xu Hua, associate secretary-general of the China Sexually-transmitted Diseases and AIDS Foundation.
"And if Asia doesn't make enough effort to educate its public on prevention, the number of cases is going to exceed Africa by 2005," he told a news conference.
United Nations figures put the number of people with HIV, which can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), and AIDS cases in Asia at 7.28 million in 1998.
In that year, Africa had 23 million and Asia was catching fast with an annual growth rate of about 20 percent, the U.N. figures showed.
Xu said a rise in the number of cases in India and China - the world's most populous countries - was likely to trigger an AIDS explosion in Asia.
"The population in India is close to a billion. And then you have China with 1.2 billion people. So you can imagine the enormity of the problem if AIDS in both of these countries grows substantially," Xu said.
China's Ministry of Health put the country's confirmed HIV cases at 15,088 in September. Of those, 477 had developed full-blown AIDS and 240 had died, it said.
Xu quoted health experts as saying China had underestimated the numbers by a wide margin and put the number of HIV cases at 800,000 in 1999, rising to 1.2 million by 2000.
Xu said among the worst hit Chinese provinces were Yunnan and Guangxi in the south, Xinjiang in the west and Henan in the east.
"Yunnan is located near Cambodia and Vietnam, where drug smuggling is rampant. So you have people in Yunnan buying drugs illegally and seeking a moment of thrill by intravenous drug use," Xu said.
"Most of these people are ignorant of the dangers of contracting AIDS by injection," he added.
Xu said there had been suggestions China should conduct a census to get to grips with the scale of the problem.
"Of course, it'll be good if we could conduct some census, but that's not easy," Xu said.
A census would cost the government about 30 yuan ($3.60) per person and to check everybody would require too much money and resources, he said.
"And what are we to do with those who are tested HIV positive? We can't just leave them alone. It's tough in terms of management and resources," Xu said.
Xu also said there was a stark contrast in awareness in developed and developing countries.
"In developed countries such as the United States, people are better informed of AIDS and would go for health checkups voluntarily. But developing countries like China still have to rely on the government and non-profit organizations," he said.
"But China is a big country and we still have to depend on ourselves to do the prevention and provide necessary education," Xu said.