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Expatriate Healthcare News: Taiwan defends ban on HIV patients

Taiwan has attempted to defend a decision not to allow blue-collar expatriates with Aids or HIV into the country, claiming it cannot support the medical burden that is associated with treating them.

According to Focus Taiwan, the deputy director general of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Chou Chih-hao, pointed out that the country allocates more than $1 billion Taiwan dollars a year ($31 million) to cover most of the medical costs for patients with the condition.

Taiwan insists on the banning of blue-collar workers with HIV from entering the country because of financial reasons, Mr Chou explained, but white-collar expats are allowed in because they usually have international health insurance to cover treatment costs.

The publication also carried comments from Yeh Chia-yu, the spokesman for an Aids-patient advocacy group, who said the government's position on the expatriation of foreigners with Aids or HIV, including the foreign partners of Taiwanese citizens, is a violation of human rights and contributes to the break-up of marriages.

"It would be an unfair practice for Taiwan to uphold its practice at a time when even China has lifted its ban," he said.

Meanwhile, the co-discoverer of HIV, Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, is set to visit Taiwan in October to speak about studies of the disease, the news source reports.

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