China’s Guangdong province to lift HIV restrictions on teacher recruitment

There are an estimated 50 000 to 80 000 persons living with HIV in the Guangdong Province. The up to now regulation excluded people living with HIV and other STIs from working as teachers. Fortunately, there is some progress. The Guangdong authorities approved policy revision that will remove this restriction.

“This move by the Guangdong education authorities sets a positive example for the rest of China, and for the region as a whole.

According to national data, more than half the estimated 780 000 people living with HIV in China remain undiagnosed. Fear of discrimination is considered to be a major obstacle to access HIV testing, treatment and care services, particularly amongst marginalized populations. Across China, people living with HIV are excluded from employment in many sectors, including the country’s civil service. An ILO study conducted in China in 2011 found that 65% of business owners felt that people living with HIV should not enjoy equal employment opportunities.

In recent years, China has seen several high profile court cases filed by people denied of employment as teachers on the grounds of HIV status, but to date none of the cases has resulted in a clear legal victory. In many cases, this is linked to the fact that provincial education authorities have generally based teacher recruitment guidelines on national civil service recruitment guidelines, which exclude people living with HIV. In this context, the policy shift in Guangdong has particular significance. As one of the country’s most prosperous and urbanized provinces, with a population of more than 100 million people, Guangdong is often considered to be at the vanguard of progressive policy making in China.

source: UNAIDS press release