By: Goh Meng Seng

I refer to the report ‘Ex lecturer charged with lying about HIV status for Employment Pass’. The report said, “the ministry would not have granted an EP had it known Farrera-Brochez’s true HIV status, his charge sheet stated.” I am against people lying and putting up fraudulent reports of any kind. But I am also against unfair discrimination.

For certain jobs like cooks or food handlers, there might be a need for stringent health checks for it is important to make sure these people do not have diseases or illness which could be easily transmitted.

However, I do not see how being HIV positive is related to a job of being a psychologist. While I am against uncontrolled  FT (foreign talent) policy, I do not think unfair discrimination of HIV positive people is right.

In Hong Kong, they will have HIV tests for domestic helpers as well (we call them “maids” in Singapore but in HK, they are called domestic helpers). If the blood test show a HIV positive result, the government labs and clinics specialising in HIV treatment will be notified.

The government however, will not send these HIV positive domestic helpers back to their respective countries. The employers will decide whether to continue employing these HIV positive domestic helpers or not.

Most employers would probably discontinue their contracts with HIV positive domestic helpers due to pure ignorance. But at least, discrimination against HIV positive people is not institutionalized by the Government.

Most people have misconception of HIV. They think it is easily transmitted. Even nurses or healthcare providers do not have sufficient knowledge of what HIV means and how to deal with it.

I would say TB, or common cold, or flu, is easier to be transmitted than HIV. In fact, with the advance of medicine, as long as HIV-positive patients are treated with proper medication, the disease could be kept under control.

It is really puzzling and really a shame for the Singapore Government to practice such institutionalised discrimination of HIV positive patients openly with such legislation or system.

Instead of communicating proper knowledge about HIV to the people, it has continued to mislead the people by such discriminatory rules to entrench ignorance and irrational fear.

“The ministry would not have granted an EP had it known Farrera-Brochez’s true HIV status, his charge sheet stated.”

Edited and republished from Mr Goh’s FB.