Thu, Aug 23, 2012 - Page 5 News List

CDC chief speaks out on same-sex unions

Staff writer, with CNA

“Same-sex marriage is a basic human right. Why should it require the consent of other people?” they asked.

The Ministry of Justice has said that same-sex marriage is not just about the two people concerned, but remains an issue that concerns identity, inheritance, insurance beneficiaries and parental rights.

According to legal experts, there is no Asian country where same-sex marriage has been legalized. If Taiwan wants to be the first in the region to do so, it should first establish a set of same-sex partnership regulations to govern the rights and benefits for same-sex couples who live together, the experts suggested.

A study commissioned by the Ministry of Justice indicated that while most countries worldwide have no regulations in place to protect the rights and benefits of same-sex couples, the UN as well as international human rights organizations have begun to pay greater attention to the human rights of homosexuals.

Issues concerning homosexual partnerships is likely is to become one of the most important topics for this generation, the study concludes.

According to CDC statistics, the number of people with HIV in Taiwan has hit 22,000. As of Aug. 18, 1,404 people have been confirmed as having contracted HIV this year alone.

Among the new patients, 420, or nearly 30 percent, are under 24 years old, with the youngest just 15, the tallies show.

Hsieh Szu-min (謝思民), a doctor of infectious diseases at National Taiwan University, said the map of HIV infected-groups is changing.

The number of heterosexuals with HIV has increased in recent years, he said, adding that the hospital has found that one in four new patients is a drug addict and that one in four is heterosexual.

He advised those who practice risky sexual behavior — such as one-night stands and intercourse without wearing condoms — to get tested anonymously for HIV. Even if found to be positive, the infection can be controlled with regular medication, he said.

The lifespan of patients with HIV may be no shorter than that of people who do not have the virus if they receive proper treatment, he said.

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