AIDS Advocates Condemn Taiwan Vice President’s Statements on AIDS
AIDS advocates on Monday condemned statements made by Taiwanese Vice President Annette Lu, who at an AIDS prevention event on Sunday called AIDS a "form of punishment from the gods" and suggested that the government establish villages for HIV-positive people, the Taipei Times reports. Lu said that the villages would enable HIV-positive people to "live openly and come out of the shadows," according to the Times. Advocates also said that Lu implied that HIV is transmitted strictly through sexual activity. "Lu's comments are quite hurtful to HIV carriers and AIDS patients. It's very outdated to assume that AIDS is only transmitted through sex," Lin I-hui, secretary-general of the Persons with HIV and AIDS Rights Advocacy Association of Taiwan, said. Chen Chien-jen, director general of the Department of Health, said that although HIV-positive people have a right to receive good treatment, "gathering all patients together to form an AIDS village would be a human rights violation." The presidential office issued a statement to clarify Lu's remarks, saying that she had said, "People say that the spread of AIDS has resulted because the gods could no longer tolerate the current situation and so issued a punishment. Without a punishment, humans would be no different from animals." The statement also said that Lu had "meant no disrespect to AIDS patients" but had meant to "point out the lack of a strong ethical stance on sexual behavior and the lack of a willingness to reform," according to the Times (Su, Taipei Times, 12/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.