Health authorities in eastern Taitung County asked police on Thursday to search for an HIV-positive Indonesian woman who has been missing since her Taiwanese husband died of AIDS earlier this month.
Officials from the Taitung County Bureau of Health said they have learned that the woman, identified only by her surname Teng, and her husband, identified as Tseng, were HIV carriers after receiving notice from National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital about a month ago.
"The couple were placed on a `watch' list. We regret that the woman ran away after her husband's death earlier this month," said a county health official.
According to Tseng's daughter, Tseng married the Indonesian woman five years ago. At that time, the woman was known by the surname of Yang. But two years later, she went to the population registration office to have her surname changed to Teng.
Tseng's daughter said only her father and stepmother lived in Taitung, while she and her brother reside in Taipei. When her father fell ill this spring, she said her stepmother prevented her from taking her father to Taipei to see a doctor.
She managed to take her father to NTU Hospital in mid-August when her father's health deteriorated further. A thorough health checkup at the hospital confirmed that Tseng was infected with the HIV virus.
Only when the hospital asked Teng to undergo a similar test did she admit that she had contracted the virus before coming to Taiwan from her home country.
Teng is suspected of having entered Taiwan on a forged passport, health officials said.
According to the country's law governing AIDS prevention and control, HIV carriers who knowingly pass the virus to other people face a prison term of up to seven years.
Also see editorial:
Editorial: AIDS? Not in my apartment block