Discrimination of HIV-Positive People Widespread in South Korea, Official Says
A recent survey conducted by the Korea Federation for AIDS Prevention says that discrimination against HIV-positive people is widespread in South Korea, despite high levels of knowledge about HIV/AIDS, KFAP Director-General Kwoen Khan-woo said, the Korea Times reports. Kwoen said that more than half of survey respondents said HIV-positive people "should be subject to complete isolation," adding, "Because South Koreans grow up accustomed to hostility toward and prejudice against those who are HIV-positive, those who contract the disease hardly have the guts to confess their status, even to family members." In addition, foreign workers in the country who test positive for the virus could be deported, according to Kwoen. He said the government's provision of "financial support and consultation" to foreign workers "for some weeks until the person can afford to leave the country" is "certainly an improvement" (Park , Korea Times, 9/29). The Korea UNAIDS Information Support Center in Seoul -- which is operated by KFAP and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- provides HIV tests at no cost, as well as consultation services in 10 languages. It also provides condoms at no cost, multilingual education materials, seminars and workshops. In 2005, there were 3,829 reported new HIV cases among South Korean residents and 512 reported new cases among foreigners, but many cases likely were not reported, the Times reports (Park , Korea Times, 9/29). Kwoen said that there remains "many customs and rules that go against the human rights" of HIV-positive people, leading many foreigners to hide their HIV status. He called on the government to be more active in tackling the epidemic (Park ,Korea Times, 9/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.