Why syphilis?

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Editor,

Within the past year or so, people wishing to renew their one year work visas are required to take and pass a syphilis test.  My kow jai.  Why syphilis?  I’ve been here a long time and I have never read anything in the press, or anything in any popular literature, that has indicated that there is either an outbreak of syphilis in foreign workers here, or an outbreak of foreigners coming into contact with the local populace and causing the locals to be infected with syphilis.

So, I repeat, why syphilis?  I’ve looked it up on line, and syphilis is curable.  Now, I hesitate to write this as I don’t wish to give immigration any ideas on how to make this already complicated process even more unbearable, but I could almost understand if they required foreign workers to take and pass an HIV test.  After all, HIV/AIDS is not curable.  But they don’t.  They want us all to take and pass a syphilis test.

Maybe someone in immigration can let this newspaper know why, and this newspaper can then inform the public.  I, and I’m sure the thousands of workers who have had to suffer the indignity of having a needle stuck in their arm, then wait around for 2 hours to get the results, might like to know.

Conversation in hospital waiting room, Person 1: “What are you here for?”  Me: “I have to take a syphilis test.”  Person 1 slowly gets up and moves to another seat.

Paul Millard