This article appeared in The STAR on Saturday, 29th July, 2006, Page N32. Reading it got me fuming a little. Apparently, there were “at least three HIV-positive GROs working” in the nightspots in Kuantan, according to the Kuantan Municipal Councillor. It was reported that he came to know this information from the Pahang state health authorities during one of their full-board meeting.
He was further reported to have said “What worries me is that the number of those inflicted with HIV or AIDS may be higher than expected. Worse, they are working in a service industry which encourages close and personal contact with the public.” He was apparently upset that ‘unscrupulous operators were employing such people.’
It was reported that he said “those who know they are carrying the deadly AIDS virus should stop doing any work that requires physical contact. There are many job opportunities, such as being a telephonist or receptionist“.
Reading the article and between the lines raised a few questions in my mind:
1. Is the Councillor admitting the GROs are engaging in sexual intercourse with their clients? Is he endorsing the fact the GROs who are in the ‘service industry’ are actually offering more than mere ‘physical contact’ as part of their service? If so, shouldn’t he be more interested in cleaning up this industry, regardless whether the GROs are HIV + or not?
2. Or, is the Councillor ignorant to the fact that HIV cannot be transmitted by mere “physical contact”?
3. What happened to confidentiality that the particulars of HIV + patients can be divulged to a non-medical (and evidently ignorant) person in a ‘full board meeting’?
4. Is the councillor suggesting that the only jobs suitable for HIV+ and AIDS patients are ‘non-contact’ ones? I think he is ignorant of the fact that around us are people who hold productive jobs and are HIV+. The media constantly drum into us, almost daily, that there is ‘no way you can tell the difference’ between a HIV+ and HIV- person. So why discriminate?
To me, this whole thing smack of ignorance and deep prejudice. It makes my blood boil.
Mon, 310706 @ 0731