Zambia government official suggests quarantining AIDS patients

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 19 2002 1:00 AM ET

AIDS activists in Africa are speaking out against a Zambian government official who last week proposed that everyone with HIV in the African nation be forced into isolation camps. During a parliamentary debate, Alex Chama, deputy minister for Luapula province, said that those infected "are busy spreading the problem. It is not fair. They should be isolated to a specific camp until such time that they become negative."

AIDS activists lashed out at Chama's false statement that HIV-positive people can become HIV-negative and expressed concern that an official of the government could support such a policy in a nation where more than 20% of the population is infected with HIV. Augustine Chola, chairman of People Living With HIV/AIDS, called Chama's proposal an enormous step backward, adding that people who are not educated on HIV/AIDS issues, like Chama, should not be in the Zambian government.