- Edgar Lungu declares HIV testing mandatory in all health centers
- The Zambian president made the announcement during HIV campaign
- Concerns are already being raised on the president’s directive
- The directive is generally seen to be in direct violation of human rights
Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu is not new to controversies. But this time he may have stretched his imaginations a little too far.
The president has declared HIV testing and treatment mandatory and legal in all health facilities in Zambia. What this directive implies is that patient’s consent will no longer matter. Zambians will now be forced to take the HIV test whether they like it or not.
“If you can test for malaria without seeking patient’s consent, then why not do the same for HIV? From now on, we will not need your consent to test for HIV,” the president declared during HIV campaign in Lusaka.
Though his directive may be well intended, as he strives to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic in his country by year 2030, the declaration to forcefully test people for HIV is seen as a direct violation of human rights and the rights of patients.
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS are against mandatory HIV testing.
Also, doctors are ethically bound to deliberate on any testing and treatment options available with their patients and the patients, once well informed, have the right to make their own choices.
It would be interesting to see how the medical fraternity in Zambia will respond to President Lungu's directive.
Watch video below for more on how people reacted to the mandatory HIV testing: