Dubai Police has advised the public not to spread rumours about the existence of HIV infected patients at a specific location in Dubai.
Responding to a rumour that a number of families residing near Lulu Village in Ghusais had been detained after some HIV positive people were found, Dubai Police said it is just a rumour and the public should avoid spreading such rumours.
“This just a rumour because it is not possible that 25 families with Aids are living in one particular location. Dubai’s police, health authorities and the municipality are constantly watching the Aids situation in the UAE. If 20 families have to be infected with HIV or Aids, it means about 100 infected people would be living in one location. It is not at all possible,” a senior Dubai Police official told Emirates 24|7.
“Everybody coming to the UAE undergoes a blood test to prevent HIV positive people from entering the country. And if anyone is found HIV positive while living in UAE, he is deported,” the police official added.
“If anybody spots a person with Aids, he can report it to the Al Ameen Service or directly to any police station without any responsibility and such information is kept secret,” a source said.
A section of residents in the area have been talking about a crackdown on HIV infected families in Muahaisina area and it was said that 25 families had been confined after their members contracted Aids. It was also said that the disease had spread in the area due to the immoral behaviour of some family members, allegedly with an infected driver and watchman.
Recent reports say that some private clinics and labs not reporting HIV cases to the health authorities.
Dubai health authorities recently warned private clinics against concealing reports of AIDS-infected patients.
“I am living in this residential area for several years and I did not hear about any HIV case near Lulu Village. It is a wild rumour and I don’t believe it,” said the head of an Indian family.
Other residents too pleaded ignorance of such stories and said they don’t believe in such rumours.
“We also heard this rumour and it said one family was infected and the culprit is the building’s watchman. Nobody could specify the building number or building’s name. So please don’t spread this rumour,” said a resident of Muhaisina 4.
HIV+? Don't worry, some UAE clinics won't tell authorities
A friendly voice over the phone informed this reporter that HIV testing was a very normal procedure in Dubai, with a simple blood test was all it took to determine your fate.
The questions were being posed to a staff member of one of the leading medical clinics in Dubai, which, among other lab work, specialises in STD testing.
However, as soon as this reporter quizzed about the standard procedure adopted if a person tested positive for HIV, the call was immediately transferred to another member of staff, who in a hushed tone, informed us that results would be strictly between doctor and patient for an extra fee. When probed further, the helpful staff member assured us that no information would be leaked out to any ‘official authority’ considering the testing was done on the premises itself and confidentiality would be adopted.
A few phone calls later, this reporter had been dished out a similar response at some of the city’s top medical clinics, with a secondary option of paying a higher fee to have the blood sample sent to the United Kingdom for testing.
In the second option, the results would be sealed and couriered to the clinic in Dubai, with a weeklong lag time as opposed to the two-day wait if tested locally, and handed over to the patient without being opened by the medical facility.
In a country where UAE is very specific on reporting on patients suffering from HIV or Aids, are clinics openly flagging the federal law?
When approached, a Ministry of Health spokesperson told 'Emirates24|7': “The Federal Law No 27 of 1981 concerning the prevention of communicable diseases where article three states on notifying the health administration/authority on the discovery of any of the notifiable diseases. This includes all population, both citizens and non-citizens. Once a suspected case is notified due to positive screening test, a confirmatory investigations is done and then each case will be managed accordingly.”
Speaking to a local doctor on the condition of anonymity, he said: “If clinics indeed are performing HIV tests on the sly and not informing authorities, as per the law, then such a act is despicable to say the least.
“Surely, they are palming extra money to keep mum about the results, if they indeed are positive.”
According to reports, expats who are diagnosed as HIV positive are deported from the UAE, while steps are being taken by the authorities to integrate citizens who test positive into the community.
Social worker, Ansitha Mayur said: “The growing concern is creating HIV awareness amongst the citizens. Many are unaware of it and its ramifications, while others are too concerned of the social stigma attached to it and are willing to pay the extra amount to ensure doctors stay mum about their results.”
According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Health, an accumulative total of 660 HIV cases among citizens had been reportedsince the beginning of HIV registering in the country in the 1980s till the end of 2010.
In 2010, there were 25 new HIV cases reported to the MOH in which 21 were males.