Mugabe calls for universal HIV testing

Harare- Zimbabwe (PANA) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has called for univ ersal testing and treatment for HIV to help combat the pandemic, the local media reported Thursday.
The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted the veteran leader, who is attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, as saying HIV should be treated the same way as diseases such as smallpox where nations vaccinated their entire citizens against it.
He said universal testing would enable nations to know the extent of the HIV/AID S pandemic, and allow them to correctly target treatment, and do so early.
Mugabe said arguments of human rights violations, if compulsory testing was carr ied out, were outweighed by the need to provide correct and timely treatment to those suffering from the disease.
''I don't think that it's a violation of human rights.
If there is any justifica tion for it (testing), it is because it is a measure to justify stopping the spread of an epidemic,'' he was quoted as saying.
''At the moment that's the main inhibition on the part of government, we don't h ave the courage to force testing and the law does not allow it.
My feeling is that the law should be amended but this must be done regionally an d internationally,'' he noted.
Mugabe added: ''Once upon a time when I was young, we had the entirety of the po pulation vaccinated against smallpox.
If it was compulsory for the smallpox, for precaution, if it was right, why is it not right now?'' Few nations around the world compulsorily test their citizens for HIV.

23 september 2010 08:01:00




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