Taipei--A majority of employers in Taiwan do not welcome job applicants infected with HIV and many continue to have misconceptions about HIV transmission, according to a survey released on Monday by a non-profit organization serving people with HIV/AIDS.
The survey was conducted by the Taiwan Lourdes Association in cooperation with 518 Job Bank and involved 176 owners and human resources managers at small- and medium-sized enterprises.
While 55 percent of respondents admitted they would turn down HIV-positive job candidates out of fear that they might infect other employees or cause panic among staff, some said they would consult with staff before considering whether to accept such candidates, the survey showed.
Only 44 percent said they would consider a candidate with HIV based on the applicant's work experience, the survey revealed.
If any employee was found to have HIV, 23 percent of respondents said they would feel anxious, worry about being infected or want such individuals to be asked to leave or transferred to another position, according to the survey.
The survey also found that many people still have inaccurate ideas about HIV, with 51 percent believing the HIV virus can be transmitted by sharing toilet seats and 43 percent that the virus can be passed to others through sneezing and coughing.
In addition, 38 percent believed they could be infected by having a meal with an HIV-positive individual and 26 percent were convinced physical contact risks infection, the survey showed.
Lin Hsi-hsun (???), a physician at Kaohsiung's E-Da Hospital who serves as president of the Taiwan AIDS Society, pointed out that HIV is transmittable through unprotected sexual activity, blood transfusion and sharing needles, diluents or containers, and it can also be transmitted from a mother to her child during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding.
The virus, however, cannot be transmitted via physical contact, water, food or air, he said.
Just like other chronic diseases, HIV infection can now be controlled as long as it is detected early and treated with continued medication without affecting the patients' work ability and performance, he added.
According to article three of the HIV Control and Patient Rights Protection Act "there shall be no discrimination, no denial of education, medical care, employment, nursing home, housing or any unfair treatment" against individuals infected with HIV/AIDS. Those found to be in violation of this regulation are subject to a fine of NT$300,000 (US$9,915) to NT$1.5 million.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel