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Taiwan

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OVERVIEW

In Taiwan, you will find a rather progressive cultural climate with many health care options. You can purchase birth control pills without a prescription at pharmacies. While you need a prescription for emergency contraception (the morning after pill), you can use regular birth control as replacement ECPs. For more information on how to do this, you can visit the "Emergency Contraception (The Morning After Pill)" below. Regarding STIs, there are no travel restrictions related HIV status, and if you're a foreigner who tests HIV-positive, you will not be deported from Taiwan. If you are interested in getting an STI test, we have also found some recommended and LGBTQ-friendly testing services. You can find pads and tampons in Taiwan, although pads are generally more common than tampons. If you would like to buy a menstrual cup, the product is generally new to Taiwan, however some brands are either forming in Taiwan or shipping to Taiwan. Abortion is legal in some cases, as detailed in the "Abortion" section below. The "abortion pill" is available in Taiwan upon prescription (if one qualifies for the medication).

Generalities[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Taiwanese people are understanding and strongly respect other people's privacy. There are low stigmas, as your health and way of life is your thing alone. For example, LGBT issues are not very polarizing in Taiwan and the LGBT community is making peaceful progress as awareness grows. The respect of social peace is expected from everyone at a level close to Japanese standards. Also, noise, drunkenness and aggressive behavior are deeply despised. It is known to be a very safe place for women.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Pharmacies are accessible and prices are low compare to western economies.

Cost[edit]

The National Health Insurance (NHI) delivers universal coverage offered by a government-run insurer to all citizens. The NHI is a single-payer compulsory social insurance plan which centralizes the disbursement of healthcare funds. The system promises equal access to healthcare for all citizens, and the population coverage had reached 99% by the end of 2004. The NHI provides cheap access to cares.

Short stays[edit]

Costs are low and service is good compared to western economies. Due to the low Doctors-for-population rate, most consultations are really speedy, about 2-5 minutes, for physicians as for specialists.

Long stays[edit]

Foreigners with long term stays may join in the NHI under some conditions.

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Taiwan, you can obtain birth control pills without a prescription.[1]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • In Taiwan, you can purchase birth control pills at pharmacies without a prescription. The pills typically come from major US and German pharmaceutical companies, like Bayer, Merck and Pfizer. Some brands you can expect to see are Diane, Duoluton, Gynera, Logynon, Marvelon, Meliane, Mercilon, Microgynon-30, Minigynon 30, Minulet, Nordette, Ortho Novum 1/50, Trinordiol, Trinovum, Yazmin and Yaz.[2]
  • If you want condoms, you can find them in convenience stores, drug stores and supermarkets. Widths (documented on the packaging) from ~52mm (most brands) to 56mm (for example some Durex brand types) are available. You can also purchase them online, such as through this company.
  • If you want a contraceptive shot/injectable, you can find Depo-Provera SAS 150mg/ml in Taiwan.[2]
  • If you want a contraceptive injectable, you can find Norplant in Taiwan.[2]
  • If you want an IUD, you can find Mirena in Taiwan.[2]

Costs[edit]

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Emergency contraception is available by prescription only in Taiwan.[3] In December 2016, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration announced that they are considering plans to make emergency contraception available at pharmacies without a prescription, but these changes are not in effect yet. [4]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • In Taiwan, you can purchase emergency contraception (the morning after pill) at pharmacies with a prescription. You can find ella (take 1 pill within 120 hours after unprotected sex). You can also find Escapelle or NorLevo 1.5mg (take 1 pill within 120 hours after unprotected sex) or Postinor-2 (take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex).[5]
  • If you cannot access emergency contraception (for example, if you can't get a prescription), you can use regular birth control pills as replacement ECPs. To do this, remember that in 28-day packs, only the first 21 pills can be used. You can take the following pills:
    • Take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 2 more pills 12 hours later: Duoluton, Neovlar, Nordiol, Primovlar[5]
    • Take 4 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 4 more pills 12 hours later: Minigynon 30, Nordette[5]
    • Take 5 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 5 more pills 12 hours later: Loette[5]

Costs[edit]

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

There are no restrictions on HIV-positive travelers to Taiwan. Foreigners applying for work or student visas are subject to a medical exam that includes an HIV test. As of January 2015, Taiwan no longer deports foreigners who are found to be HIV positive. [6] According to HIVTravel, "Foreigners who wish to get tested in Taiwan are advised to get an anonymous test performed first. In the case of a positive test result, the government will not be notified and it should not be any problem to leave/re-enter Taiwan."[7]

Testing Facilities[edit]

  • STD Clinic Taipei: Anonymous tests with rapid response are possible without any problems. Address: 2F, 100 Kunming Street, Phone: +886 2 2370 3739.
  • Taipei City Hospital Kunming Branch: They provide STI tests, including HIV test. They also have HIV/AIDS special clinics and hotline for STD counseling.
  • Rainbow Queer Health Culture Center: 9F.-4, No.70, Sec. 2, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 100, Taiwan (R.O.C.) 02-23920010
  • Gay Together: This is an LGBTQ-friendly clinic that offers HIV tests, as well as potentially more STI tests. Address: 5F., No.100, Kunming St., Wanhua Dist., Taipei City 108, Taiwan (R.O.C.) 02-23703738
  • Taiwan AIDS Foundation: This is an LGBTQ-friendly clinic that offers HIV tests, as well as potentially more STI tests. Address: 8F., No.410, Nanjing W. Rd., Datong Dist., Taipei City 103 02-25592059
  • Living with Hope Organization, Society of Preventive Medicine in Taiwan: This is an LGBTQ-friendly clinic that offers HIV tests, as well as potentially more STI tests. Address: Rm. 902, 9F. Campus Building, No.155, Sec. 2, Linong St., Beitou Dist., Taipei City 112 02-23920010
  • Light of Friendship Association of Taiwan: This is an LGBTQ-friendly clinic that offers HIV tests, as well as potentially more STI tests. Address: 3F., No.1, Ln. 1, Bo’ai Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 100 02-23755413

Note: For a list of LGBTQ-friendly HIV testing centers in Taiwan, click here.

Support[edit]

Costs[edit]

For Taiwanese citizens with HIV/AIDS, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is free and available. For foreigners who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Taiwan, anti-retroviral medication is available, but it's not immediately free upon diagnosis. In fact, foreigners must be covered by National Health Insurance (NHI), and free ART is only free two years after initial diagnosis. In the first two years, foreigners must first cover all of their medical costs, including exams and treatments. The estimated costs for ART are NT$15,500, as of 2018. As an alternative, some foreigners choose to order ART online or import ART from abroad, such as from the The Thai Red Cross.[8]

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Pharmacy in Taiwan

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

For information regarding HIV treatment (of locals and foreigners) in Taiwan, please refer to the above section: "Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)."

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you have a yeast infection, you can ask the pharmacist for Fluconazole. The pharmacist should be able to give you Fluconazole or medication that is similar (which may be Flucon in Taiwan).[9]
  • The HPV vaccine is available in Taiwan. However, it's unclear if the government has an official vaccination program that it subsidizes. As of 2015, it was not yet subsidized by the government,[10] and was available at National Taiwan University, for example, for TWD 2394.[11]
  • You can find Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) in Taiwan, but you may need to pay out-of-pocket to access it. You should contact your local health provider for details.
  • There is a national Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) project, which is sponsored by the Taiwanese CDC, and there are an estimated 300 people who are using PrEP in Taiwan, as of 2018. Gilead’s Truvada (TDF/FTC) is approved for prevention, but generic versions of TDF/FTC are not approved for prevention.[12] You can read the National Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Guidelines (2016) (in Mandarin) for more details.

Costs[edit]

  • You may need to pay for an HPV vaccine out-of-pocket. The cost for the HPV vaccine at National Taiwan University was NT$ 2394, as of 2015.
  • You may need to pay for PEP out-of-pocket. The cost for a 28-day PEP treatment (Truvada® + Isentress® or Truvada® + Tivicay®) is about NT$ 20,000, as of 2018.[13]
  • The NIH doesn't cover costs for PrEP, so you'll probably need to pay out-of-pocket. You can expect to pay around NT$ 12,000 per month for Truvada, or you can pay NT$ 1,000 – 3,000 per month for generic forms of PrEP (which you'll need to order online and have shipped to Taiwan), as of 2018.[14]

Menstruation[edit]

Note: In addition to pads and tampons, you can also use menstrual cups and menstrual underwear for your period. To learn more about menstrual cups, click here. To learn more about menstrual underwear, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can find pads and tampons in Taiwan. While pads are especially common, you can find tampons sold in international chain stores like Watson's, FamilyMart and 7-11.[15] You may be more likely to find tampons without applicators (like OB) than tampons with applicators.[16] However, locals report that you can now find a greater variety of tampons, including brands from South Korea and Japan, in Taiwanese stores. Click here for a August 2016 blog post about tampon options in Taiwan
  • If you want a menstrual cup, there's a new Taiwanese brand called Formoonsa Cup. You can purchase brands like Lunette Cup, Lena Cup, Super Jennie Cup and Lily Cup from LiveLoveLuna, an online retailer that's based out of Singapore and sells products throughout Asia, including Taiwan. You can also buy LadyCup from Artemis Gadget Co., but we don't have any info on them. You can find Lunette at Finnexion Oy (New Taipei City 220).

Costs[edit]

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you want to see an English-speaking gynecologist in Taiwan, click here for a list of options.
  • Zhongxiao Xingfu has been recommended by an expat working in Taipei. Click here for a 2011 blog post with information on this recommendation.

Costs[edit]

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Abortion has been legal in Taiwan since 1985. Abortion is legal for medical and psychological reasons, rape or incest, "seduction" (which includes but is not limited to statutory rape), and to prevent psychological issues of a parent from being passed on to a child. Abortion is not a right for all women. Unmarried women under the age of 20 need parental permission to terminate a pregnancy. A married woman of any age needs permission from her husband. A woman labeled as mentally handicapped needs permission from her guardian. Although abortion is not available on request in Taiwan, some doctors do not ask for proof that you meet the criteria for abortion. Furthermore, the definition of "seduction" or psychological distress is vague and easily applied to many circumstances. [17]

Misoprostol and Mifepristone (the "abortion pill") are available on prescription.[18]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Mifepristone is registered as Apano. Misoprostol is avalable as u-miso in Taiwan.[18]
  • Here's a Taipei Hospital List, if you would like to contact them to see which ones provide abortion services.
  • Ko's Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic - Address: 1F., No.10-1, Linsen S. Rd., Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 100, Taiwan (R.O.C.) Phone: 02-33933939 ext.9
  • Zhongshan Hospital - Dr. Jean Chang (Chang Pei Lin) and Dr. Bernice Chen (Chen Ming Jer) have been recommended as resources to contact for info.[18]

Costs[edit]

Taiwan's national health insurance does not cover the cost of abortion under any circumstances. A blog post last updated in 2013 lists abortion prices in a private clinic ranging from $6,350 - $8,000 NTD [19]

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Community Services Center Taipei: Provides English-language emergency support, general help, and sliding-scale counseling for foreigners in Taipei. Main Tel (02) 2836-8134, Emergency line (09) 3259-4587 Address No. 25, Lane 290 Zhong Shan North Rd., Sec. 6 Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C. Email csc@communitycenter.org.tw

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Global Oral Contraception Availability
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 IPPF Taiwan
  3. EC Status and Availability: Taiwan
  4. http://www.chinapost.com.tw/health/other/2016/12/11/486425/Morning-after-pill.htm Morning-after pill to be made available without prescription
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Princeton EC Website
  6. Taiwan lifts deportation requirement for foreigners with HIV/AIDS
  7. TAIWAN - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  8. Can I be treated for HIV in Taiwan?
  9. Fluconazole - International
  10. Experts call for free HPV vaccines for girls
  11. Vaccination Service
  12. PrEPWatch - Taiwan
  13. Can I get post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in Taiwan?
  14. Can I get pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in Taiwan?
  15. Guide to Taiwan - Before You Go
  16. What To Bring to Taiwan
  17. [1] Termination of Pregnancy and Abortion in Taiwan
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Women on Waves Country Map
  19. [2] Getting an Abortion in Taiwan