Following advice from school and government authorities, a male teacher — whom an anonymous tip alleged was an HIV carrier and had spread the disease — has agreed to undergo testing to ease the minds of the school and protect his reputation, a Taipei City Government official said yesterday.
Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Tseng Tsan-chin (曾燦金) said the tip came in an anonymous letter sent to a Taipei elementary school last week.
The school, whose name Tseng did not reveal, said the teacher interacts well with his colleagues and behaves professionally at work, adding that it does not have the right to investigate the teacher’s private life or medical status.
The letter did not provide details, the school said.
However, to ensure the health of the school’s students and teachers and his own right to work, the teacher went to a hospital for a checkup, Tseng said.
Chu Yu-ju (朱玉如), chief of the Disease Control and Prevision Division under the city’s Department of Health, said that even if the teacher was an HIV carrier, as long as his condition does not affect his job, he cannot be forced to have a check-up or be fired.
“HIV carriers and patients also have human rights and working rights,” the secretary-general of the Persons with HIV/AIDS Rights Advocacy Association (林宜慧) said, adding that educational facilities should be educating their students about HIV, not focusing on “who has HIV.”
Meanwhile, Tseng said his office would keep a close eye on the teacher’s medical checkup.
“We will consult medical professionals and give teachers and students the best protection we can for their educational environment,” Tseng said.
The department would also seek to defend the teacher’s reputation and legal rights, giving him the respect he is entitled to should he be wrongfully accused, Tseng said.