The deputy director-general of Taiwan’s Centres for Disease Control (CDC) is the first senior official in the country to publicly come out in support of marriage equality.

As reported by Focus Taiwan, CDC’s Shih Wen-yi said on his personal Facebook page earlier this week that he advocated legalising marriage equality on health grounds. He added that the issue should be promoted “by eliminating every barrier.”

Mr Wen-yi said he believed marriage could limit reckless sexual behaviour, restrict the spread of HIV and AIDS, and therefore limit the amount of money needed to treat the diseases.

The CDC deputy chief said it costs about US$11,657 to treat HIV and AIDS patient per year, or a total of New Taiwan $10 million if it assumed the government is willing cover the bills of each new HIV patient under the national health insurance system for 30 years.

Mr Wen-yi said that based on the 1,400 men who were infected with HIV in Taiwan via same-sex activity in 2011 alone, it could add up to a long-term bill of NT$14 billion.

CDC statistics claim that there were 1,062 HIV cases reported in the first half of 2012 in Taiwan, of which 795 – 74 per cent – were the result of male same-sex activity.