Ukiniambia huyu mbunge hajui kusoma siwezi kushangaa. Mandatory HIV tests unsuitable, says Govt 2008-08-07 09:33:50 By Patrick Kisembo, Dodoma The government has rejected advice by legislators that HIV/AIDS testing be made compulsory for public servants and job seekers. Health and Social Welfare deputy minister Aisha Kigoda told the National Assembly here yesterday that the idea was untenable because such an exercise would lead to the stigmatisation and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS. She was responding to a question by Masolwa Cosmas Masolwa (Bububu - CCM), who had asked why the government was reluctant to make HIV/AIDS testing mandatory. ``The government is not in support of the MP?s idea of making the exercise a precondition for people seeking employment or a political career in Tanzania,`` noted Dr Kigoda. She said compulsory testing would create isolation and divisions and would promote stigmatisation among people living with HIV/AIDS. Translating the idea into action would make those people fail to participate fully in routine community activities as free citizens in their own country, she added. ``That would effectively mean denying them their basic constitutional rights and human rights,`` she elaborated. The deputy minister explained that the level of one`s performance in relation to one?s health depended much on one`s competence in particular jobs or activities. She stated that there were people living with HIV/AIDS who were performing better than those who had not contracted the disease. ``The best way to fight the pandemic is to work collaboratively with people living with HIV/AIDS by viewing them as human resources as important and useful as all other members of society,`` she said. Asking a supplementary question, Mzee Ngwali Zubeir (Mkwajuni - CCM) wondered why it was not compulsory for people joining the National Service to be tested for HIV/AIDS. Responding, Dr Kigoda explained that testing was voluntary and called on the legislators to help by passing on to the people correct information on the disease and underlining the importance of going for voluntary testing and counselling. ``We need to encourage people to test. There are a lot of services that people going for testing get, among them counselling and health education generally. But in line with human rights demands and our own national policy on HIV/AIDS, the government is not ready to force people to test,`` she told the House.