Mon, Dec 02, 2013 - Page 11 News List

62 percent of HIV-positive people forced to leave jobs due to discrimination
六成愛滋患者 受不了歧視離職

HIV patients wear comic hero costumes and pose with Cheng Shu-hsing, head of infectious diseases at Taoyuan General Hospital under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, after receiving awards for bravery during a media event at the hospital in this undated photo.

Photo courtesy of Cheng Shu-hsing

According to a survey conducted by doctors, 62 percent of HIV-positive people left their jobs because they have HIV, which included being forced to quit after it was discovered that they had the virus, being talked about by colleagues, or even because their superiors demanded it.

Cheng Shu-hsing, head of infectious diseases at Taoyuan General Hospital under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, says that according to data from the Centers for Disease Control, around 78 percent of HIV-positive people in Taiwan are between the ages of 25 and 64 — the overwhelming majority being within the working-age population. According to the results of a survey given to HIV patients at the hospital, 77 percent were able to continue working at their jobs while regularly taking medication, and 36 percent of them were able to regularly work overtime like typical office workers, while 16 percent chose to work the night shift and 12 percent worked more than one job.

Howard (alias) appeared at the hospital’s event on Nov. 25 wearing an Iron Man costume. He said that after testing positive for HIV, he was unable to get out of bed when he was at his worst, and even lost control of his bladder in front of the doctor. Howard eventually told his boss about being HIV positive because he anticipated that he would need to take some time for treatment.

After regularly taking medication, his bodily functions gradually returned to normal, but instead of being on field assignment like before, he only worked in the office.

“It was strange because it was like everyone knew about it, when actually the only person I told about my illness was my boss,” Howard says. One time when he was eating in the company cafeteria, everyone unexpectedly got up and left the table as soon as he sat down at the table, and one coworker used rubbing alcohol to clean the glass he had used to drink water.


1. overwhelming adj.

壓倒的;勢不可擋的 (ya1 dao3 de5; shi4 bu4 ke2 dang3 de5)

例: An overwhelming percentage of Iranians support the new policy.


2. anticipate v.

預期;期望;預料 (yu4 qi2; qi2 wang4; yu4 liao4)

例: It’s always hard to anticipate what Brian will say or do. He’s so unpredictable.


3. terminal adj.

末期的;晚期的 (mo4 qi2 de5; wan3 qi2 de5)

例: Ariel has terminal cancer.


Howard says that at the time it was difficult, but for the sake of his job and to have a source of income, he had no alternative but to put up with it. During this time, he covered for two coworkers who were initially unwilling to sit at the same table as him and missed work after one was in a car accident and the other had a baby. After returning to work, they became his biggest supporters in the office.

Cheng says that, according to data from her hospital, HIV is not a terminal illness — around 86 percent of HIV patient who take highly effective antiviral drugs can continue living normal lives by regularly taking the drugs. The amount of viruses can also be controlled to the point where they are virtually undetectable and cells in the immune system are able to remain stable.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)









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