NEWARK, N.J. -- -- The City Council unanimously passed an ordinance yesterday to require AIDS tests for convicted prostitutes, their pimps and customers.
Council President Henry Martinez, who drafted the ordinance, said it is aimed at stopping prostitution in New Jersey's largest city, discouraging suburban residents from seeking prostitutes in the city and checking the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
The ordinance requires anyone convicted of engaging in prostitution or of soliciting to report to the city Department of Health and Human Services for an AIDS test. Customers of prostitutes, if convicted, would be required to pay for both their test and the prostitute's.
A second test would be required after six months. Anyone failing to report for either test could be fined between $100 and $1,000 and jailed for up to 90 days.
The ordinance, which Martinez said is apparently the first of its kind in the nation, does not specify any steps to be taken when prostitutes, pimps or customers test positive for the virus linked to AIDS, including whether they would automatically be notified. Test results would be kept on file, but would be confidential, Martinez said.
Martinez said he has been assured Mayor Sharpe James will sign the ordinance, but a spokeswoman for the mayor said he had not decided whether to approve it.