Legal NGO Filing Complaint with UN Regarding E2 HIV Testing

expat2For those of my readers on an E2 visa, who have been subjected to mandatory HIV testing due to your job as an English instructor, it appears as though a Korean NGO consisting of 740 lawyers and 11 committees is about to submit a letter of allegation to the UN on your behalf.  If you have an E2 visa, and were forced to subject to an HIV test as a condition of employment, you may want offer your input to the NGO below:


MINBYUN — Lawyers for a Democratic Society is currently seeking testimonies from those that have been subjected to mandatory HIV testing in order to receive or renew an E2 visa.

As of yet, the Korean Government has yet to explain the link between classroom teaching and HIV infection, require that Korean nationals with the same employment undergo testing, or provide any official data to support a link between sex crimes and E2 visa holders. Due to the discriminatory nature of the testing and under the premise that it is in violation with Korea’s commitment to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we will be sending a letter of allegation to the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and related intolerance.

If you are interested in giving your testimony please send the following information to by February 23, 2013.

Date of the incident(s):
Date and length of contract(s):
Details such as the following:

-If you were allowed to choose the hospital where you were tested
-If the hospital staff communicated with you in English or if you needed a translator to communicate with the hospital staff
-If you were provided with any education or training on the prevention of HIV
-If you ever felt mistreated or harassed related to HIV/AIDs
-If you were pressured to take the test more than once within a year
-If your results were reported directly to you or through an employee at your school, the immigration office, or the MOE
-If you feel that your test results resulted in harassment or termination
-If you refused to be tested and subsequently were denied a visa or terminated

Please provide us with a way to contact you for further details. Depending on the volume of replies we may not be able to respond immediately, but we will follow up with those that will be included in the report.

Thank you.

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32 Responses to Legal NGO Filing Complaint with UN Regarding E2 HIV Testing

  1. ddog13 says:

    Will do. Thanks.

  2. Baek In-Je says:

    I had to take the test back in 2005. I was in Uijangbu teaching at the time. I showed up at the clinic just after a fat American teacher. So, he got to go first. I pegged him for a FOB, because he spoke no Korean and acted like a newbie. They weighed him in the lobby. He weighed 95 kilograms., according to the woman weighing him. The woman writing down the readings repeated it in a exagerated way, to which, when confirmed by the first woman, caused the second woman to utter “OOOWAAAAHHH!”
    Fat boy looked irritated by this.
    They took him to a table in the lobby and proceeded to attempt to draw blood. They stuck him twice. The nurse couldn’t get blood. She said it might have something to do with his being “doong-doong-e” and other things I didn’t understand. You could tell by fat boy’s body language that he was in pain whilst they moved the needle around in his arm trying to poke a vein.
    The nurse pulled the needle out for the second time and motioned for fat boy to give her the other arm. He hestitated, got up, and walk out. I followed him to the elevator. I wasn’t going to let those Klowns take my blood…or just stick me a few times.
    The experience was very demeaning.

  3. nemesis says:

    I don’t know how the 2nd poster had to take a mandatory HIV test back in 2005 if he was on an E-2 visa. The tests didn’t start until some time in 2007-08. There was no HIV test for English teachers in 2006 so I can’t see how the 2nd poster had to take it for a visa in 2005.

    Thanks for posting that information, expat. I wouldn’t have cared so much about being tested for HIV as an E-2 if there wasn’t for the bloody mindedness and hypocrisy of the authorities in Korea – and many Koreans.

    Testing for HIV among English teachers but deliberately ignoring the strong possibility of STD-HIV infected prostitutes under the open joke that is the ‘Entertainment Visa’ in Korea?

    Memo to Koreans – your country looks ridiculous doing this and it’s a poor reflection on the Korean national priorities when importing prostitutes to have sex with Korean men, many of whom have their own partners and are married, is the factor at play here. What developed country encourages prostitution to be imported in this way while cracking down on people doing normal jobs such as teaching?

    At least other countries that have a brothel on every corner and willingly import prostitutes without being concerned about their sexual health would never deny they are third world countries. Unlike Korea where the lack of social development lags way behind the shiny electronics, shiny suits, shiny buildings, cafe facade.

  4. Baek In-Je says:

    The tests were portrayed as health check ups. I was told it was manditory. I figure that it was kind of like when you need to get a check up for a new job back in America, but it is really just a blood test to look for drugs.

  5. Baek In-Je says:

    I think, and I don’t think I’m alone here, that I would have prefered that they had just kept it that way; their sneaky little trick on the foreigners. But they had to make it a big public embarrassment for the Native Speaking Teachers (sic). That was to degrade us. I felt degraded. I am sure that many Koreans enjoyed the degredation. Koreans love their schadenfreude.
    Reminds me of “The Cask of Amontillado”. It is not enough to only get revenge against someone you perceive to have wronged you, they have to know that it was you.

    • . says:

      I don’t know which is more pathetic. The Farmers and whores fucking waygooks in the ass. Or the waygooks taking it year after year doing nothing about it but crying on Internet message boards. Can’t really blame ‘em for fucking you. You’ve shown yourselves to be fuckable.

  6. Via Korea says:

    I’ve gotten the blood test twice so far but each time I forgot to ask whether they can tell me my blood type, that way I can engage in pseudoscientific blood-type banter with the peninsulares. I guess I’ll keep getting it done until I remember to make a point of it.

    Once I know my blood type, then the blood tests will truly be useless and I may start to get angry. Or not.

  7. Jeb says:

    Just sent my form into MINBYUN. Thanks.

  8. Nemesis says:

    WARNING! One of the best posters over at eslcafe, ttompatz has replied to this very message allegedly from a concerned Korean NGO. He has told them to stop spamming the cafe and said that they are a front for nationalists. Go over the eslcafe and read his message – Tom is one of the good guys who genuinely presents good info and is a productive poster on the cafe.

    Expat – I did think it was a little odd that Koreans gave a damn about this. I’d say we have to treat this with skepticism and assume that these assholes are collecting info on waygugin for their own troublemaking purposes. Steer clear everybody.

    • The Expat says:

      Then why did they go through the trouble of making an entire website for their organization?

      They aren’t asking for personal info, you can provide them with any name you want.

      I’d take anything read on ESL cafe, especially from long time posters, with a grain of salt as well.

    • Atticus says:

      MINBYUN has been providing commentary to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for many years so there’s nothing unusual about that. But the fact that they are interested in doing it now for what amounts to a bunch of relatively privileged white people is unusual. MINBYUN’s focus with the CERD has been exploited “3D” foreign workers from underdeveloped nations. Of course racism is racism so it makes sense to go after the idea that non-Korean blood and people are problematic since this same concept is behind discrimination against all non-Koreans. But as to why MINBYUN decided (rather late in the game) to become enlightened in this regard — I’d say its because there’s already a case filed with the CERD brought by a former English teacher. She’ll win her case and MINBYUN doesn’t want left out of the action on what will be a landmark case. They joined on about 3 years too late when foreigners had already done all the work but at least this way when it goes through they can say “we supported that case”.

      Whatever their motivations it is a very good thing MINBYUN is on board. We should support their attempt despite it coming quite late in the game.

      • The Expat says:

        I’d also venture a guess that they need to pursue a certain number of filings per year, and that this particular issue is a pretty clear cut case of discrimination, and as you mentioned, someone else has already filed a formal complaint meaning that the required work is minimal.

        The socioeconomic status of the victims doesn’t really matter, as they are still ethnic minorities. For example, when rich black people are denied memberships at exclusive country clubs due specifically to their status as non-caucasians, it is still a form of racial discrimination that should not be acceptable.

  9. badbodycondition says:

    Um, Korean homophobia has created a hearty downlow culture of married men who frolic in unprotected sex in bathhouse “sleeping rooms” with “foreigners” as well as each other. Uptight societies are always secretly freaky. Funny that the government’s so worried about a bunch of recent college grads coming in from the U.S. A report put out by the Korea Federation for HIV/AIDS Prevention noted that in 2011 there were 7,656 known cases of HIV infection in South Korea. Of those, some 6,292, or 82 percent were still living at the time and guess what the number one treatment for HIV is in SK? Suicide…lots of dirty secrets in the ROK, kids, lots…

    • The Expat says:


      For a few moments, I will explain in simple terms why Korea’s E2 forced HIV testing is discriminatory, and why despite what delusional long term Korea apologists on Daves ESL café will argue, that such testing does indeed qualify as being ‘racist’ as per the dictionary definition of the word.

      1. The argument that “E2 visas are issued to people who are black, white, Latino or Asian, and therefore forced HIV testing on E2 visa holders is not racist” doesn’t hold water for very simple reasons. The group “E2 Visa Holder” excludes Koreans, and can even exclude Koreans born abroad, and Koreans who were adopted. By virtue of the exclusion of an entire ethnic group from forced HIV testing, discrimination and racism are also present. Racism can constitute both an action directed at members of an ethnic group, OR exclusion of members of an ethnic group from a set of actions. It would be like saying “All non-white bus drivers must procure a criminal background check” and “No, this isn’t racist, because we’re making several ethnic groups do it, not just one”. Racism by exclusion is still racism.

      2. The argument that “E2 visa holders are tested for HIV in order to protect children” is quite possibly the most embarrassing breach in logic, and it’s shameful to see other foreigners actually buying into this. We, from civilized nations, all learned back in 6th grade health class that HIV is not transmitted among humans from casual contact. The Koreans, we can forgive for not yet understanding this because they’ve only recently pulled themselves out of dire poverty/pig farming, and this new world of Western medicine and immunization is probably all rather confusing to them. The argument that “E2 visa holders are tested for HIV in order to protect children” is either an outright lie, or a very public demonstration that the Korean government’s health initiative is about 30 years behind that of most civilized countries. To wit; there is no risk of HIV transmission as a result of casual and daily contact between infected and uninfected individuals.

      3. The argument that “E2 visa holders are tested for HIV in order to protect children” is in and of itself a glaring piece of discrimination. It is discriminatory because it assumes that (1) the risk of teachers and students sharing hypodermic needles is statistically high enough to warrant HIV testing or that (2) the risk of students and teachers engaging in repeated acts of unprotected sexual intercourse is high enough to warrant forced HIV testing. The very premise of the testing relies on the idea that significant risk of the previous two actions exists, despite statistical data firmly disproving this. In other words, the assumption is made that the risk for crime is high enough to justify forced testing, when statistical data strongly refutes this idea, and thus far there has yet to be a single instance of foreign teacher to Korean student HIV transmission recorded.

      4. Let’s assume that the Koreans really are 30 years behind the civilized world with regards to medicine, and they believe that HIV actually IS transmitted via coughing and shaking hands. In such case, one could ask “Have the students also been tested for HIV?” And if the students have not all been tested for HIV, why hasn’t this occurred? If the Koreans are actually so backwards as to believe that HIV spreads through coughing and handshakes, and are also operating under the assumption that a reasonably high risk factor exists for (1) the sharing of hypodermic needles between teachers and students or (2) repeated instances of unprotected sexual intercourse between teacher and students, then why are they not testing the students for HIV as well? Is an E2 visa holder potentially in danger if they are surrounded by a group of Korean students day in and day out, whom have never been tested for HIV?

      5. The argument that “Korea has the right to protect itself from foreign HIV carriers” is something that I will agree with, however it is misapplied in this case. You see, among all foreigners residing in Korea, only E2 visa holders are being forced to undergo HIV testing. Statistically speaking, E2 visa holders are an extreme minority among foreigners. Factually speaking, E2 visa holders are overwhelmingly white, middle class, university graduates. They have to be university graduates to qualify for the E2 visa. Being white is part of the unspoken racist hiring practices of the Koreans, and being middle class, well my friends, that is just a statistical fact extrapolated from data indicating that the poorest 20% of Americans are overwhelmingly non-white, and non-university educated, and thus wouldn’t qualify for the E2 even if they wanted it.

      So we have a demographic largely made up of 20-something, white, middle class university graduates, all of whom have passed a drug test as a pre-requisite for their E2 visas. In other words, we have a group of individuals whom statistically speaking, represent a low-risk group with regards to HIV prevalence. To simplify things; if the Korean government were actually trying to prevent the spread of HIV, they’re doing so by exclusively screening the one group of immigrants who are quite possibly the least likely carriers of the HIV virus. To put this prevention strategy in perspective, let’s imagine that 97% of airplane crashes involved Boeing jets, and that as Air Safety Commissioner, my strategy for protecting air travelers is to ignore all the Boeing jets, and instead to inspect all of the Airbus jets. This is essentially the Korean government’s HIV prevention strategy.

  10. Nemesis says:

    Fantastic post, Expat (as usual). Sorry for sounding what could be a false alarm but ttompatz is actually a very knowledgeable guy, very helpful and not given to accusing Koreans of things like that (and he does criticise Koreans when they need it, he’s not an apologist).

    I was concerned because there are sick little Korean fuckwits who do this kind of thing and yep, they’ll produce a website if it makes them look credible. Then again, they tend to have really shitty English grammar and from what I’ve seen the website looks normal and well written.

    But I still won’t be sending in anything to them.

  11. Baek In-Je says:

    Anyone who has gotten medical treatment in South Korea can attest to the fact that the medical care was substandard. (I don’t mean plastic surgery; I am sure Korean surgeons are very adept at double eyelid surgery, shaving jaw bones, V-line jaws, V-line vagina surgery, whatever).
    My kid was in the children’s critical care center at supposedly the best hospital in Seoul. The doctor was checking other children, without gloves and without washing his hands between patients. When he came over to check on our kid, I asked my wife to ask him to wash his hands. He laughed and said to her in english: “Why does he want me to wash my hands?!”

    Same hospital, but different department and now I was the patient. I had a broken hand. The x-rays were taken and my wife and I were in the Orthopaedist’s office. He looked at the X-rays for a long time.
    (In English): “I want to take an x-ray of your other hand.”
    “Why? It is not injured.”
    “I want to compare your healthy hand to the injured hand.”
    (Long pause)…”Uhm…why?”
    “Because the bones in your hand are different than other people’s bones.”

    I turned to my wife and said to her, ask him to tell you what he means in Korean. Because I think he just said that the bones in my hand are different from other human being’s bones. Is this what he means?

    She asked him this and he replied. “Yes.”

    I took the x-rays off the viewer, had my wife put them in the big envelope, and we took a taxi to another hospital.

    I got the pins pulled out by a hand specialist back in America, a very well-known guy. I told him the story and I asked him if the bones in my hand looked different than other people’s bones. He stared at my for a few long seconds, and with no expresion on his face said:

    “The bones in your hand look like every other human’s bones.”

  12. randall says:

    I don’t understand the opposition to this. The HIV prevalence rate in Korea is very low. The vectors for an increase in the prevalence rate are going to be foreigners and homosexual activity, so it’s reasonable to screen for HIV like this.

    • The Expat says:

      The opposition is not to HIV testing. Everyone should be tested, including Koreans.

      The opposition is to force-testing small and select groups of ethnic minorities, under the false guise of ‘protecting children’, an excuse that we all know is a big fat lie.

      I think that HIV testing should be part of annual physical exams. People should know their HIV status. However, lets not pretend that there is a correlation between teaching English and HIV transmission.

    • The Expat says:

      It should also be mentioned that the Koreans have ranked themselves as the largest consumers of paid sex among SE Asian countries, and that some HIV infections are definitely coming from foreigners. Problem is, those foreigners aren’t English teachers, they are the men and women that Korean men are sleeping with abroad. And the women who get infected in Korea, are likely getting infected by their own husbands.

      • randall says:

        The vectors for an increase in the prevalence rate are going to be foreigners and homosexual activity, so a reasonable HIV screening strategy would focus on those vectors, including Koreans who have had contact with foreigners, especially in areas with high HIV prevalence rates such as SE Asia, major cities, Africa, etc.

        • The Expat says:

          Agreed, which is why EVERYONE on a non-tourist visa should be tested, if HIV transmission is actually the motivation or testing.

          Furthermore, I’d argue (without any hard data of course) that transmission from foreigner to Korean is overwhelmingly occurring outside of Korea as opposed to inside Korea (business trips, sex tours, sex with other men while traveling, or sex with men who have engaged in one of the above three).

  13. Baek In-Je says:

    1. How would Koreans even KNOW the correct HIV rate in their country unless they had been tested and I quarantee you 95+% of Koreans have never been tested.
    2. I went to get an HIV test done at a very-well known foreigner clinic in Seoul and the doctor asked me if I was a homosexual.
    “Then you don’t need one.”
    3. “No, ajosshi, that P.I. whore didn’t give you AIDS, you paid for it.”

    • The Expat says:

      They have no clue about HIV prevalence because they don’t get tested. Those diagnosed are likely either coming in several years after being infected, extremely ill, or are being flagged during blood donation or a very select other set of circumstances that require HIV tests (immigration abroad, organ transplant, etc)

  14. Nemesis says:

    Thanks Randall, that was the funniest post on this thread.

    How do you know the HIV rate in Korea is ‘very low’?

    These are undeniable facts in Korea:

    A huge sex industry where it’s still normal for Korean teenagers and young men to lose their virginity to prostitutes instead of girlfriends,

    Sex with prostitutes is considered a very usual activity for the Korean male even when they’re in a committed relationship or active marriage,

    Ultra conservative attitudes whereby most Koreans are uneducated in personal health regarding sexual activity and so STDs and HIV are considered taboo topics generally and kept on the downlow.

    The bisexual activity of Korean men which judging from the loitering around of a surprisingly high number of supposedly straight men in restrooms, convenience stores, normal saunas (as opposed to saunas specifically for gay men) etc looking for other men is far more prevalent in Korea than most Koreans would ever begin to admit.

    Koreans are in denial about many aspects of their sexual norms, like the numbers of married women with STDs from their husbands.

    Since when has HIV been the subject of a national public health campaign in Korea like those conducted back in the 1980s in western countries which helped remove its stigma as a ‘gay disease’ and encouraged people to be responsible with themselves and others, and seek medical help?

    The Korean unwillingness to accept the realities that health campaigns would address also means many more Koreans ride bareback than use condoms.

    The good old ‘entertainer’ visa which is basically a foreign prostitute visa, importing yet more options for unsafe sex to Korea – as if Koreans aren’t already having downlow, unsafe sex and as if most Koreans aren’t ignoring these unpleasant facts.

    So Randall, tell us again how ‘low’ the incidence of HIV in Korea is? Based on the facts above reason would tell us that the HIV rate is probably alarmingly high but the hypocrisy of Korean society frantically covers this up and won’t even let the problem come to light.

    Instead it’s very handy to blame the usual suspects – native English speaking teachers who are more knowledgeable about safe sex. Makes a lot of sense, Randall, congratulations on your Korean ‘logic’.

      • The Expat says:

        Though not concrete, I’m also going to guess that the overall HIV rate is quite low in Korea. Mostly because (1) cheap IV drugs are not widely available, as they are in countries with higher prevalence (USA, Pakistan, Thailand, India). Most IV drug users in Korea seem to be celebrities, rich people, plastic surgery addicts, and hospital staff (the drugs aren’t cheap), and these people should probably get tested as they fall into a higher risk group than the average citizen. And.. (2) Koreans, from what I understand, screen blood, organ and tissue donations for HIV, unlike places such as China, where this is a common means of transmission and (3) since many or most Korean male homosexuals are closeted, and often times married, the opportunities for them to travel abroad for sex are somewhat limited, and instead they meet men locally in parks and bathhouses for anonymous sex instead of traveling to countries where homosexuality is more openly tolerated, and HIV prevalence is higher.

  15. Los Angeloser says:

    ttompatz is out of his realm as he’s not reporting the facts. He’s only projecting into the future of what he thinks Minbyun will do and he’s trying to scare E-2′s by telling them that “Minbyun is Anti-Foreigners” when there’s probably only evidence of them being Anti-American. He also claims Minbyun is spamming the ESL site but as far as I know there is only 1 thread by a possible Minbyun member? A new one on me is that the 2002 & 2008 incidents were “Anti-Foreigners” as opposed to Anti-American. I thought ttompatz was smarter than that, but I guess he’s into that fear mongering thing. He does not have an E-2 visa nor has he answered whether he’s ever been forced to have an HIV/AIDS test in S. Korea in order to get a job.

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  18. Baek In-Je says:

    Anti-American and anti-foreigner is pretty much the same thing here.

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