A 24-year-old Thai sex worker who visited Taiwan and saw clients during that time has tested positive for HIV.
The woman, only identified as Patty, arrived in Taitung County, Taiwan, on March 11 on a visitor’s visa, according Taiwan News
. She then engaged in prostitution from March 13 to March 22 with clients she’d met via the mobile social media app LINE.
Taitung authorities managed to apprehend Patty and immediately tested her for HIV. The results came back positive on April 2, and Patty was deported back to Thailand shortly thereafter.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s health bureau strongly advised the dozens of men who had sex with Patty, especially those who failed to wear condoms during intercourse, to get themselves checked out and tested for HIV within three months.
HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a type of virus that specifically attacks the immune system, according to Avert
“The virus destroys a type of white blood cell in the immune system called a T-helper cell, and makes copies of itself inside these cells. T-helper cells are also referred to as CD4 cells,” the organization wrote. “As HIV destroys more CD4 cells and makes more copies of itself, it gradually breaks down a person’s immune system. This means someone living with HIV, who is not receiving treatment, will find it harder and harder to fight off infections and diseases.”
Prostitution rings in the Southeast Asian region have started taking advantage of Taiwan’s lax visa policies, Apple Daily
reported. Authorities believe that there are two to three rings operating under the radar in Taitung that primarily use LINE to find customers.