CDC denies rumors about treatment of foreign HIV/AIDS patients

Taipei--Most foreign nationals with HIV/AIDS do not meet the stringent conditions enforced by Taiwan's health insurance system to receive treatment, an official at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Monday.

CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (???) said that foreign nationals seeking treatment for HIV/AIDS in Taiwan have to meet five conditions, amid rumors being spread online that since Feb. 4, all HIV/AIDS patients are entitled to treatment in Taiwan.

The group spreading the "false news" urged members of the public to call the health minister, legislative speaker or premier to oppose the provision of such coverage.

Lo said that in order to receive treatment foreign residents must first have legal residency status in Taiwan, have lived in the country for more than six months, received official notification of their HIV/AIDS status from a local hospital and be officially listed with the Taiwan health authorities.

Patients are also required to provide proof they have paid for two years of medicine, which amounts to about NT$200,000 (US$6,470) a year and have a record of AIDS drugs being prescribed by a local hospital.

Lo described the five conditions as "sufficiently stringent."

He said that most foreign nationals are unlikely to want the authorities to be made aware of their HIV/AIDS status and noted that two years of medical bills also represents a severe financial burden.

If foreign nationals need treatment for HIV/AIDS, but do not meet the conditions in Taiwan they should consider Great Britain, Japan or Thailand, where the requirements are less strict, Lo said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel