The doctor did not give me a direct answer at the Taoyuan Veteran’s Hospital when asked directly about the result of the test. I asked several times for clarification and his answer was that there was a “problem with the results” and that they would have to “be sent for further testing elsewhere”. The doctor’s female assistant said that it was positive but again the doctor would not confirm this when I asked. The doctor then made an appointment for two days later when I would be able to get the results. Later that day the doctor who I had seen called me to say that he would not be able to give me any further results and that I would be contacted by someone from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). He also said that he had cancelled the appointment made to see him two days later.
On the Thursday afternoon I was contacted by a woman from the CDC who asked if I could speak Chinese and then proceeded to tell me that I was positive and that I had to leave the country because I was a risk to Taiwan and students. She then passed me on to a man who spoke English who explained that my file would be transferred from the Taipei office of, I think Immigration, to the Taoyuan office as my registration address was in Taoyuan and not Taipei, and that I would have to leave Taiwan within two weeks of my test results. He said that my file would be transferred the following day and to expect the call from the Taoyuan office. He then asked me a number of questions about my personal life such as: sexual preference, condom usage, sexual activity in Taiwan, age and employment. He also said that my medical status would remain private. This ended our first conversation and then he called back later that evening to ask one more question: regarding my highest educational qualification and that I would not be able to access ARV treatment in Taiwan.
I can’t remember what happened on the Monday but on the Tuesday, a person from the Immigration department came to my apartment to speak with me. I was not there and instead he spoke with the Crown Removal employee who was packing my belongings. It would appear that my situation was discussed as this employee told me that the government official had left his number and that it was in connection with the “Immigration and Health departments” and “Disease Control” and that I should contact him immediately as it was very important. I did contact with the mobile number and left a voicemail message. I called again the following day and the man who answered said that he would contact me the next day which he did not.
On leaving Taiwan, the immigration official who stamped my passport said, “Hope you have good memories from Taiwan”.
I know that there are probably other things that happened but to be honest the last week of being in Taiwan is quite a blur and I can’t remember a lot. In retrospect, I was incredibly fortunate as being close to death on arrival in the UK I have been treated with respect and compassion and given access without question to treatment and access to information. I hope that in the future Taiwan can learn from others and progress in their handling of those affected by this disease.