Aug 22, 2016

    Taiwan uni fined over HIV/Aids bias


    THE Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Taiwan has fined National Defense University NT$1 million (S$42,590) for suspending an HIV-positive student, who accused the school of discriminating against him based on his health status.

    The fine was the first ever issued to a university for violating a student's right to an education.

    It is also the heaviest penalty ever meted out by the CDC for discrimination against people with HIV.

    According to CDC deputy director-general Chou Jij Haw, the university had abused its powers and set a bad example for the nation in terms of eradicating discrimination against HIV/Aids patients.

    According to Lin Yi Hui, secretary-general of the Persons With HIV/Aids Rights Advocacy Association Of Taiwan, a student who had asked to remain anonymous had been suspended six months before his graduation after testing HIV-positive in 2012.

    University representatives, however, said he was suspended "because of his bad behaviour".

    Accusing the university of depriving him of his fundamental right to an education, he appealed to the Health and Welfare Ministry in 2014, which took the case to court in 2014.

    This March, the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled in favour of the university.

    It said the ministry had no jurisdiction over another administrative institution.

    However, the ruling noted that the ministry was authorised to fine the university for breaching the HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act, Mr Chou said.

    In order to end Aids by 2030 - a goal set by the United Nations - eradication of discrimination and stigma against the disease is just as crucial as preventing the spread of the illness itself, he added.