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Sat, Jan 20, 2001 - Page 2 News List

City workers said sacked over HIV

HEALTH Superiors told two government officials to `go home and take a long rest,' after they tested HIV positive


Taipei City Councilor Lee Ching-yuan (李慶元) said yesterday two Taipei City government officials were dismissed after it was discovered they were HIV positive.

According to Lee, the two individuals who were sacked were a Taipei City policeman and a civil servant.

In addition to having their blood test reports leaked to their city government employers the two men were told by their superiors to "go home and take a long rest," local media reported.

At the press conference yesterday Lee released a recording of one of the two men who were dismissed. In the recording the man said that after it was found that he was an HIV carrier, Wanfang City Hospital (萬芳醫院) notified both the government's personnel department and the patient's boss directly of the blood test results. Shortly afterwards his boss asked him to take a long sick leave.

According to the Civil Servants Employment Law, the rights of all civil servants should be protected -- except those who are afflicted with a highly infectious disease. Lee said HIV is not a highly infectious disease.

This was backed up by Ting Jo-ting (丁若庭) -- a top official in the city government's personnel department -- who said that civil servants who were HIV carriers should not be dismissed.

Replying to the charge that the two men's blood test results were leaked illegally, Wanfang City Hospital -- which is in charge of health examinations for all city government staff -- said they were obliged to submit blood test reports to the city government, on the basis of an earlier contract.

Lee said the response of the city officials and hospital was a sign of how little people understood about HIV. "Most people don't really know what it means. You don't simply become HIV positive or get AIDS when you're bitten by a mosquito," Lee said.

A survey recently conducted by the Taipei Municipal Institute for Venereal Disease Control (市立性病防治所) has shown that 47 percent of high school students believe AIDS can be contracted through mosquito bites.

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