Taiwan Health Department Proposes Amending Deportation Policy To Allow HIV-Positive Foreigners To Stay Two Weeks
Taiwan's Department of Health on Monday proposed amending the country's policy of deporting HIV-positive foreigners to allow them to stay in the country for up to 14 days and not restricting the number of times they can apply for the two-week visa, the Taipei Times reports. The draft revision to the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Control Act, which has been "put on hold" by the Legislature until the end of next month, would amend the current law that requires HIV-positive foreigners to be deported permanently and have their visas annulled and their names listed in official records, according to the Times. People from China, Macau and Hong Kong are included as foreigners in the draft amendment. Since Taiwan began collecting HIV/AIDS data in 1984, 488 HIV-positive foreigners have been identified. Taiwan's Center for Disease Control estimates that 7% of HIV-positive people in the country are foreigners, the Times reports.
Lin Ting, deputy director of Taiwan's CDC, said, "The draft is made out of respect for civil liberty, as well as out of necessity to stem the [HIV/AIDS] epidemic." However, Ivory Lin, secretary of the Persons With HIV/AIDS Rights Advocacy Association of Taiwan, said, "The point is not how long we allow them to stay; the point is whether we allow them to stay." She added, "The biggest shame is the fact that our government restricts [HIV-positive foreigners'] freedom of movement in the name of public health." Chen Yi-Ming, director of the AIDS Research and Prevention Center at National Yang Ming University, said that it is "impossible" to "shield the nation" from HIV/AIDS by legislation, according to the Times. "Every unsafe sex act is a chink in the armor against AIDS," Chen said, adding, "It is about sex education and condom usage; it is not about law and punishment" (Wang, Taipei Times, 11/9).