CNA with Red Brick Daily Staff

For the first time in Taiwan’s history, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) plans to fine a university on the grounds of education discrimination, after the school expelled a student — allegedly due to the person’s HIV-positive status.

The NT$1 million fine would also mark the stiffest financial penalty ever issued by the CDC.

After deliberations, the CDC decided on Monday to levy a fine of NT$1 million (US$31,900) on the National Defense University for what it called the “forcing out” of an HIV-positive student in 2013.

The male student, whom we will not identify, tested positive in early 2012 for HIV during a routine health exam.

The hospital that conducted the test passed the results to the university without the individual’s consent, and it’s reported that the school subsequently held frequent conversations with the young man, trying to convince him to drop out.

In blatantly discriminatory actions, the school allegedly required him to wash his eating utensils separately and barred him using the school’s swimming pool.

(Come on! This is 2016 – not 1986 … get some education, university!)

The university eventually expelled him in 2013 after giving him demerits based on “poor conduct.”

After receiving a complaint from the student, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) demanded the university reinstate the individual in May 2014.

The university refused and instead filed a lawsuit against the MOHW.

The case is still wrapped up in court as due to the school being a Military University, jurisdiction issues have seen the matter bounce around between courts.

According to the CDC deputy director, if the university is willing to reach an out-of-court settlement, there will be no need for the CDC to issue the fine.

Taiwan, sadly, still suffers from severe ignorance related to HIV … and foreigners who test positive (even those married to locals) face the possibility of being booted out of the country.

Advocates for HIV+ people warn that ex-pats who test positive in a first test should NOT take a second test in Taiwan … as a double positive test triggers a mandatory report to authorities and possible deportation.

It’s nice to see the CDC standing up for the rights of this HIV+ student, but so much more needs to be done to bring the nation into the 21st century with regard to HIV/AIDS.

And for the record, no … you cannot get HIV from sharing chopsticks or swimming in a pool with an infected person.

HIV is a virus … not a crime – and certainly not an excuse to discriminate.

Can we get an ‘AMEN’ ?