It's an all too familiar routine. Otherwise healthy, productive male wage-earners in their twenties and
thirties are asked to go the hospital for a pre-screening physical. Unbeknowst to them, the results, should the presence for HIV be detected, are sent off to hiring managers and they are not hired. Period.
The same is true of workers on the job. No matter how well or how long an employee has performed on the job, no matter how many certificates of excellence issued, units sold or honors bestowed, one positive test means the end of one's career at their place of employment.
Is this legal? In a word: no.
Article 8, Item 1 of the AIDS Prevention Act, enacted to protect the rights of HIV-positive individuals in South Korea, states that those performing physical examinations may not notify anyone but the examinee of the test results. Those who violate the law are subject to up to one year in prison and a fine of up to 3 million won (US$2,770).
But that hasn't stopped employers nationwide from engaging in the practice. And those practices have consequences. According to Gwon Mi-ran of Nanuri Plus, an AIDS human rights advocacy group, "People with HIV end up stuck in a vicious cycle as long as society does not guarantee them the opportunity to work. Guaranteeing the right to work is a minimal requirement for HIV-positive people whose lives and finances have hit rock bottom because of the social stigma."
And while Korea does offer social welfare benefits to its neediest citizens, most HIV-positive people will tell you that if they're going to have to live with a perceived stigma, they'd much rather be doing it while working than living off the meager earnings of the government dole.
via: The Hankyoreh
© 2012, Victor Hoff. All rights reserved. Menofcolor.blogs.com