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Draft amendments to HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act approved to address human rights( 2015-02-05 )



As medical technologies advance, AIDS is now viewed as a chronic illness. International human rights law dictates that governments should ensure all people in a society have shelter, food, medical care, and basic education. Hence, people affected by HIV/AIDS should be treated fairly and equally. To ensure the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, the Government of Taiwan has been actively promoting a series of draft amendments to the HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act. On January 20, 2015, the draft amendments underwent their Third Reading and were passed by the Legislative Yuan. In alignment with international practices, the restrictions on the entry and the deportation of foreigners affected by HIV/AIDS are thus lifted. The cost of medical treatments for HIV/AIDS patients is reverted to be covered by the National Health Insurance (NHI).

 

Between 1984 and 2014, a total of 954 foreigners were reported to be affected by HIV/AIDS in Taiwan. Among them, 48 people successfully obtained residence in Taiwan, while the rest were only allowed temporary stay. In the past, the residency application procedures were time-consuming and complicated. Applicants were often not able to obtain residence successfully without professional immigration help. Oftentimes, they ended up having to leave Taiwan as they failed to meet certain requirements, giving up their studies or jobs and separating from their spouses and even children. A-mei (pseudonym) is a case in point. She met her Malaysian husband in Japan. The two of them then decided to live in Taiwan. When they applied for residency in Taiwan, they underwent health examination and it turned out they have both contracted AIDS. As the husband could not determine whether he became infected by A-mei or while receiving medical treatment in Taiwan, the two of them were forced to be separated.

 

The passing of the draft amendments to the HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act will prevent the aforementioned tragedy from happening again. Foreigners affected by HIV/AIDS will not be deported again and are entitled to residency. In addition, medical treatment is also an important part of disease control and prevention. Including the cost of medical treatments for HIV/AIDS patients under the coverage of NHI not only ensures the rights of infected individuals to medical treatment and care, but also closes the gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services and people who are being left behind.

 

Following the formulation and promulgation of the AIDS Prevention and Control Act on December 17, 1990, it was amended six times before it was renamed the HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act on July 11, 2007. It is hoped that the latest amendment will further promote not only HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, but also generate greater compassion among the general public for people living with HIV/AIDS. In the near future, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) will continue to work with all government sectors, local governments and non-governmental organizations to promote various HIV/AIDS awareness and education campaigns to reduce misperceptions and stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS, encourage high-risk populations to get tested, and promote medical adherence among HIV-infected patients, taking actions towards closing the gap.



  • Last modified at 2015-02-05
  • Data from Public Relation Office