15 years of age have the right to voluntary HIV testing

Persons who are full 15 years or older and have civil act capacity are voluntarily requested to be tested for HIV, instead of being 16 years old as currently.

This is one of the new points in the Law amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Law on HIV / AIDS Prevention and Control, passed by the National Assembly at the end of November. The Law takes effect from July 1, 2021.

Accordingly, the age reduction is entitled to voluntarily request an HIV test of children from full 16 years old to full 15 years old, without the consent of parents, guardians or legal representatives. This regulation is to ensure that it is consistent with the actual situation of HIV infection in the current group of children who need to be tested early for prompt treatment if HIV is infected.

Mr. Nguyen Hoang Long, Director of HIV / AIDS Prevention and Control Department, Ministry of Health, said that it is necessary to lower the age for voluntary HIV testing in the current context. Children are developing physically, psychologically, early puberty and having sex early.

According to the General Department of Population, the rate of adolescents with unwanted pregnancies and abortion is increasing rapidly. Every year, on average, there are 250,000 to 300,000 abortions, of which 60-70% are pupils and students aged 15-19, especially in cases of pregnancy at the age of 12-14, are puberty. . In a survey by Hanoi Obstetrics Hospital, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases among pregnant adolescents is much higher than for pregnant women at an older age.

In particular, the age of people infected with HIV is increasingly young. Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that the number of HIV-infected children aged 15-16 detected in 2019 nearly tripled compared to 2011. Occurrence of men who have sex with men before the age of 20. drugs creep into school.

In fact, in very few cases, parents know their children are at risk of infection so they can be tested. Children often dare not tell their parents that they are at risk of HIV due to unprotected sex. Health facilities do not test for HIV without the consent of children’s parents, reducing the chances of children being tested and detected for HIV early.

According to Mr. Long, the regulation of lowering the young age to be tested voluntarily is also to ensure consistency in the legal system, consistent with international practices. The Philippines’ Law on HIV / AIDS in 2018 also stipulates that people aged full 14 years are allowed to self-request HIV testing. The Papua New Guinea 2003 HIV / AIDS law states that “people aged 12 years are allowed to self-test for HIV”.

Reducing the age at which children are tested voluntarily also makes HIV testing more accessible. Early detection of HIV, early treatment ensures the child’s health and reduces HIV transmission in the community. At the same time, it also ensures the children’s rights to be protected and cared for by their families.

According to the Law amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Law on Prevention and Control of Virus Infection causing Immunodeficiency Syndrome in humans, children aged 15 years or older who are tested positive for HIV are notified to their parents or persons. guardians to know and timely support and take the child for treatment.

Le Nga