Temples banned from requiring HIV tests for ordination

Photo courtesy of Thairath

The Sangha Supreme Council has endorsed a proposal from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to prevent temples from mandating HIV tests for men seeking ordination, arguing that HIV is not a chronic infectious disease.

Wasan Paileeklee, a member of the NHRC, announced yesterday that the commission had looked into a complaint about a temple in Bangkok’s Suan Luang district, which had imposed a rule requiring health checks and HIV tests for those wishing to become monks.

An NHRC resolution from last year suggested the temple eliminate the HIV test requirement and urged the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) to inform all affiliated temples to avoid such mandates to prevent discrimination.

Medical reports indicate that HIV is not transmitted through everyday activities or respiratory systems. Paileeklee highlighted that with appropriate treatment, people living with the disease can remain healthy and lead normal lives.

The Sangha Supreme Council’s rules state that individuals wishing to enter the monkhood must be in good physical health. Only those with severe contagious diseases like tuberculosis can be barred from ordination.

Paileeklee mentioned that the NOB had responded to the NHRC’s suggestion in April, confirming through the Public Health Ministry that people with HIV are not considered to have chronic infectious diseases.

Tongthong Chandransu, an advisor to the Sangha Supreme Council, added that compelling individuals to undergo an HIV test cannot be enforced under the rule of law, reported Bangkok Post.

He noted that the NOB has complied with the NHRC’s request and issued orders to all temples to adhere to this directive.

In related news, a report from a private company in Nong Suea, Pathum Thani, prompted an investigation into a group of men dressed as monks who had been gathering at the company’s private location. The Pathum Thani Office of Buddhism received the complaint and coordinated with relevant agencies to conduct a field inspection at the 20-rai location.

Bangkok NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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