HIV testing for visas

In a blog post earlier Andrew Sullivan wrote that:

the US is the only developed country – and one of only a handful of undeveloped countries – that still tells the world that people with HIV are dangerous pariahs, who need policing at borders and deporting if discovered.

When I went to study abroad in Taiwan 2005-2006 they actually did require an HIV test to get a visa, as did China, who abandoned the policy with much fanfare a year or two ago. However, I never saw an announcement that Taiwan did so, but I also could not find any mention of it in the current visa application procedures. Does anyone know if Taiwan has abandoned the HIV test policy, and if so, when? I suspect that they ditched the policy around the same time China did, but did so quietly to avoid drawing any attention to the fact that they continued a system criticized as backwards and uncivilized when the PRC was doing it.

10 thoughts on “HIV testing for visas”

  1. Hmm.. Not sure about the “only developed country” comment – what constitutes a developed country then? I’m not sure about Taiwan, but Singapore definitely still requires an HIV test for a visa. While I disagree with the practice, it’s not exactly uncommon, in my experience.

  2. I actually emailed Andrew Sullivan about this back in December 2006 in response to a post he’d made saying:

    “A legislative effort to remove HIV as a barrier to American citizenship and residence is long overdue. HIV is not a communicable disease like malaria or TB. It poses no similar public health threat and no other civilized country treats it the way the U.S. does.

    and his reply was

    taiwan, egypt, iran, russia
    i.e. not civilized and western

    which is clearly not the terms in his initial post. I agree with him totally about changing the US immigration rules on HIV, but it doesn’t look like he really did the research to find out with countries have HIV immigration bans.

    I’m also not exactly sure what he’s implying about Taiwan not being “civilized and western” but it certainly sounds insulting.

  3. It is about two years since I last had a health check, but as far as I know they still maintain this policy in Taiwan. There have been some small improvements in the laws affecting immigrants over the last few years. I think those groups lobbying for change have limited resources. They have probably focused on issues that more directly affect one’s livelihood or ability to stay in the country rather than the issue of HIV test.

  4. I needed an HIV test and a signed declaration that I had no mental illness to get a work visa for (mainland) China. I can’t recall the exact date, though, but I was amused that I needed to solemnly swear I wasn’t a nutcase.

  5. Meg:Luckily for you they didn’t require any proof. You first got your China visa in what, 2006 or 2007 right? I know for a fact that China has changed their policy recently, as they made a big deal out of the announcement, although I forget just when it was.

    David: What changes in the law has there been? I visited Taiwan last year, but just as a no-visa tourist. I lived there in 05-06.

  6. Mongolian government insisted me to get an HIV test to marry my wife along with other things.,like police certificate that I haven’t commit any crime et al.

  7. Huh, that’s the first I’ve heard of a background check just to get marriage permission. In America I hear stories about crazy lonely women marrying guys IN jail that they met through pen-pal programs.

  8. That happens quite a lot in many times in Japan,most recent famous one is this woman who got married with Takuma Mamoru who killed 8 elementary school children in Osaka in 2001.

    Mongolian response can be legitimized because of the memory of the spread of syphilis in 19th century that had caused huge population decrease.They are worrying that same thing may happen with HIV.

    When I adopted the kid,I had to go through more paper works because Mongolians are also concerned about human trafficking.I had to present the government to show my annual income is enough to sustain the family of three and took me sometimes to get the grant,although we had some inside help thanks to the friend of friend within the ministry.
    Having gone through all that I had to envy Ewan Mcgregor knowing that he adopted a Mongolian girl while on his bike trip around the world.

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