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HIV SCREENING PROTESTED IN THAILAND

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Some of the biggest companies in Thailand are practicing a form of discrimination that is not only unethical and an infringement of human rights, it is downright bad business, AIDS experts and virus carriers say.

Many Thai companies screen workers and applicants for HIV, the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome, they said, effectively denying a large section of society the right to work.AIDS campaigner John Ungpakorn said some of the country's biggest companies in the industrial, banking, travel and retail sectors, as well as several state enterprises, had mandatory HIV-testing policies.

"In Thailand at the moment there are many forms of discrimination (against people with the HIV virus), but the biggest problem is in terms of employment," Ungpakorn told the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand.

Thailand, where there are between 600,000 and 800,000 people infected with HIV, has drawn up principles requiring that HIV testing be carried out only with the informed consent of the person being tested.