A Hong Kong woman has fretted on social media and sought advice after finding out that her domestic worker, newly hired to take care of a newborn, had tested positive for the AIDS virus. The domestic worker had been employed by the family for only a month, news website HK01.com reported, citing a post uploaded on a Facebook group by a friend of the employer on Wednesday.
The worker had been suffering from flu symptoms for weeks and when she didn’t recover, her employer took her for a medical checkup, which included a blood test. The worker tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus, which can cause AIDS.
The employer was shocked, as the pre-employment health report she had obtained stated that the worker was healthy and was HIV-negative.
She said the family, including the newborn, underwent their own tests for HIV, even though health experts insist the virus cannot be transmitted by casual contact.
The worker was sent back to the employment agency. The agency requested that the employer pay a month’s salary in lieu of notice and cover the airfare for the worker’s return to her homeland, which the HK01.com report did not identify.
Despite the fact that the danger of contracting HIV was negligible, the employer said she was in a panic, as she now had no one to take care of the baby and the family needed to undergo another round of blood tests three months from now.
Joan Tsui Hiu-tung, convener of the Support Group for Hong Kong Employers, said all domestic workers had to pass a health check to obtain their work visas. When they arrive in Hong Kong, the workers have to go through another health check. All of the tests, whether done in Hong Kong or overseas, have to be accredited. The workers’ identification documents are checked as well.
Tsui advised this employer to ask for more information from the agency. If she suspected any irregularities such as a forged medical report, she should report the case to the relevant consulate.
According to the Hong Kong AIDS Foundation’s website, HIV cannot reproduce outside the human body. Therefore, casual contacts such as shaking hands, kissing, sharing toilets and drinking fountains, eating together, going to school together or working together cannot transmit the virus.
No HIV infections caused by saliva, tears, sweat, urine or feces have ever been reported. While such bodily fluids of an infected person can carry the virus, at least 2 liters of such fluids would have to enter the second body at one time for infection to occur.