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Saxony-Anhalt is planning HIV and hepatitis mandatory tests for so-called high-risk groups
The federal state of Saxony-Anhalt apparently is planning a compulsory test for so-called "HIV and hepatitis risk groups". This means groups of people such as homosexuals, foreigners, homeless people and drug addicts, as the Robert Koch Institute noted. The planned country law has met with fierce criticism from numerous interest groups and the opposition.
If it were up to the Interior Ministry in Saxony-Anhalt, foreigners, homosexuals, homeless people or addicts in the federal state should apparently undergo a compulsory HIV and hepatitis test. The controversial new regulation is to be integrated into the new "Law on Public Security and Order of Saxony-Anhalt". The interior minister justified this measure with the argument that certain professional groups such as police officers or paramedics must be protected against the infectious diseases. It is precisely these occupational groups who have frequent contact with people who are infected.
Until now, every person was free to take such an HIV test. The patient also had to give his consent if HIV infection was suspected. However, the Interior Minister now wants it to be sufficient, if not more specific, to suspect that there is an “increased likelihood of infection”.
Robert Koch Institute reports medical and ethical concerns
According to a spokesman for the epidemiological department of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), homosexuals, drug addicts, homeless people and foreigners are very likely to be assigned to this risk group. For this reason, "serious ethical and medical concerns" have been reported. There are considerable doubts about such a compulsory test, since according to the latest surveys "only 0.05 percent of the total population in Saxony-Anhalt was infected with the HI virus".
Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe, the gay and life association and the opposition also reacted indignantly. The state government is guided by "irrational fears" and acts "completely inappropriately" with the draft law. This "protects police officers or other helping professional groups in no way," as the association wrote to the Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht (CDU) in an open letter. Rather, "homosexual-oriented people are stigmatized and discriminated against".
Ministry of Interior rejects allegations
The phones in the Interior Ministry of Saxony-Anhalt are currently running hot. Numerous indignant citizens and many journalists call the ministry, as a spokesman confirmed. There, meanwhile, attempts are being made to appease: "The bill does not aim to discriminate against certain population groups or to put them under a general suspicion," said the spokesman. Rather, the infection test should "only be arranged under very specific conditions". According to current planning, a judicial decision is required.
Such a case could be, for example, if a paramedic injured himself on an addict's drug kit. Then it must be clarified whether there is a health risk for the helper, said the ministry. The same would apply to police officers who would injure themselves during an operation. The term “risk group” would not be used at all. In no case should the test be ordered based on “origin, gender or sexual orientation”. The ministry spokesman said that the test would only be compulsory if there were some facts to support it and an infection possibly occurred, if the person concerned did not agree to the test.
Spongy wording in the legal text
But the draft law reads completely differently in the meantime. It reads literally there: "A person can be examined physically if facts justify the assumption that it was a danger to the life or limb of another person" Pathogens, in particular hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), may have come. "In addition, the test result must be usable to avert danger. The affected person should not suffer" no health disadvantage "as a result. Such a formulation does not allow There is a lot of room to maneuver, because how is the assumption supposed to be based on reality?
This is precisely what the Federal Association of Gays and Lesbians in Germany criticizes. The "requirements for such a test are spongy, which is why the people are assigned to a risk group only on the basis of their appearance". This means that almost everyone can be forced to have such a test carried out by force, similar to an alcohol test. (sb)
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