People infected with HIV could be implanted with microchips after lawmakers in Indonesia backed tagging them.
Microchips as small as this one could be implanted into Aids sufferers
Legislators in the archipelago’s remote province of Papua said they supported a bill requiring some patients to be fitted with chips to monitor the disease.
Health workers and Aids activists called the plan “abhorrent”.
People with Aids aren’t animals – we have to respect their rights.
Tahi Ganyang Butarbutar, a prominent Papuan activist
But lawmaker John Manangsang defended implanting small chips beneath the skin of “sexually aggressive” patients.
He said it would help authorities identify, track and ultimately punish those who deliberately infect others with up to six months in jail or a $5,000 fine.
The technical and practical details still need to be decided but, if the proposed law gets a majority vote as expected, it will be enacted next month, Mr Manangsang said.
Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country and has one of Asia’s fastest growing HIV rates.
There are up to 290,000 infections out of 235 million people, fuelled mainly by intravenous drug users and prostitution.
But Papua, the country’s easternmost and poorest province with a population of about 2 million, has been hardest hit.
Its case rate of almost 61 per 100,000 is 15 times the national average, according to internationally-funded research, which blames lack of knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases.
The health situation is extraordinary, so we have to take extraordinary action.
Lawmaker Weynand Watari
Read: Aids Sufferers’ Faith In Rhino Juice
Another lawmaker, Weynand Watari, envisions radio frequency identification tags like those used to track everything from cattle to luggage.
A committee would be created to decide who should be fitted with chips and to monitor patients’ behaviour.
But it remains unclear who would be on it and how they would carry out their work, lawmakers said.