Government clarifies that routine HIV testing is not mandatory.

The Ministry of Health has clarified that no health care giver has the right to initiate HIV testing without consent from patients.

Provincial, ART, Anti-Retroviral Therapy technical officer, Michael Muzombo, says that patients must give consent, even when the testing is done through health giver initiated testing.

Mr. Muzombo says that testing a patient without his or her knowledge is against health regulations and patients have the right to report to authorities.

This was during a live debate on Breeze FM.

And PACA, Provincial Aids Coordination Advisor Emmanuel Chama encouraged people to go for HIV testing.

He said this is the only way people will know their status and get information on how to live a healthy life, whether positive or negative.

And representing the Church, Pastor Chris Mulunda encouraged people not to view with negativity, the testing which is initiated by health care givers.

Pastor Chris said that it is important for patients to allow health care givers to do their work and carry out tests deemed necessary.

He said this is the only way health care givers will know exactly what is wrong with patients and administer the right drug.

During the debate, people also raised issues on the rise in the number of traditional healers that are busy telling people that they can cure many diseases including HIV/AIDS.

Others also said something needs to be done on churches and religious leaders that discourage people from taking drugs and seeking health care services.

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