Sunday, January 09, 2011

HIV 2

My first post on this topic over two years ago, HIV (11-Nov-2008), has gotten a lot of attention. It's a hush-hush topic, after all, and not only in the UAE.

It reflects the immaturity that still exists in many places around the globe. It reflects certain cultural sensitivities, no doubt. Even in a more mature intellectual environment, like that of the US, one has to go around saying things like the N word. How funny and odd that must seem to people not immeshed in that culture.

The problem in the UAE is that HIV cannot even be talked about much less its sufferers being treated humanely. In my 10 plus years in the country I have never heard any office chatter on the topic. It isn't featured in the media and it isn't talked about among groups of casual friends, colleagues or acquaintances. It is the H word here.

Of course, it isn't the only thing that isn't talked about. This is a place where the Internet is heavily censored. Untouchable topics include things related to sexuality, religion, government and some aspects of economy and culture. This, of course, creates an environment where intellectual development is stymied.

Father Knows Best

Now some defend this sort of intellectual subversion--it protects children and the local culture. And the truth is that, even in so-called free and liberal societies, there are things one might say that make many people uncomfortable and can even get one into trouble with the enforces of the law.

Still, SEX, RELIGION, GOVERNMENT, ECONOMY, CULTURE--that is quite a big chunk of topics to take off the table. My mental faculties have certainly been dulled as a result. When there are so many things that one is not allowed to talk about, one eventually stops thinking about them. You eventually stop really thinking at all. That, I suppose, is exactly what the powers at be want--and perhaps many others in the society at large.

And so THEY HAVE WON this fight here in the UAE. We (long term expats like myself) survive and thrive in the UAE, only by turning off a part of our consciousness.

Papa Don't Preach

Now, Abu Dhabi wants to bring culture to the UAE ala the Louvre, the Guggenheim and all things great being planned for Saadiyat Island. But what culture is that really? One hardly has the freedom of thought in this land. A richer culture might emerge, if only the UAE would refrain from deporting or arresting individuals who dare to express views on the many untouchable topics.

HIV--the topic which is the point of this post, but I digress.

I do not think the situation for HIV sufferers... OK sufferers is a completely wrong word choice. (People with HIV--HIV positive status--don't suffer. They live their lives in complete normality if not harassed by government or others in society.) People in the UAE who have become infected with the virus, for whatever reason, still fare poorly--especially those who are non-nationals.

There is no confidential testing. One should take a flight, not only out of the country but completely out of the region, to get tested in order to avoid risk of arrest and/or deportation, or ostracism if one is a UAE national.

Every year that World AIDS Day rolls around we get a few articles in the newspapers addressing the topic with a few hopeful words about how the government is starting treatment or looking to protect the rights of HIV infected individuals. BUT WAIT, this only applies to the population of UAE nationals. It is still the dark ages or the Spanish Inquisition for anyone so identified among the expatriate population, which by some estimates makes up 90% of the UAE resident population.

So, no change in the HIV/AIDS situation here in the UAE for expatriates. No change, either, is likely to come, as long as one dare not even talk about the topic within any public setting.

The Bigger Picture

All things considered, what makes the UAE a livable environment and a place where many people, both local and expatriate, can survive well and even thrive are
  1. a little bit of luck--luck not to be the one to get arrested at the airport for having a grain of narcotic dust on the sole of one's shoe, or a leftover poppy seed from a bun eaten at a transit airport's business lounge--and luck not to contract the HIV virus, whether through a very human error in judgement or circumstances completely beyond ones control, and

  2. a, not only benevolent, but genuinely modern and forward-thinking rulership in the person of those sheikhs and families who rule the UAE.
You see, although it is those same powers that be who have implemented the zero tolerance edicts against alcohol, drugs and HIV (and these things are not ALL vices), they also do a pretty good job of creating a society where there is some distribution of wealth and general peace and tranquility. They cannot be faulted for that.

My one suggestion is to consider that the UAE is still a young nation, which has at least done a great job of providing the basics and spurring incredible economic development. I say, give it time, and the social development will follow. Maybe they've got it backwards in bringing over the Louvre and Guggenheim long before there is any true freedom of expression. But perhaps these things will hasten an eventual social, political and religious maturity.

While being diagnosed HIV positive is still a great tragedy for any individual in the UAE--and not because of the condition itself, but because of the inhumane treatment by the government--it is one of those risks in life that some people choose to live with. It is one of those risks that I have chosen to live with and, at the end of the day, I still choose the UAE, I still choose to live in and call Dubai home.

For further or more up-to-date info...

45 comments:

Spear The Almighty said...

Brilliant post

Anonymous said...

Dubai isnt your home or anyone else who doesnt have a UAE passport.

HIV and not from the UAE, DEPORT, Thats it.

Being here isnt a RIGHT to a non citizen. Its a privilege, one that the UAE govt can end when it sees fit, HIV positive ppl being one of those times.

B.D. said...

No place is worth staying if one is made to feel unwelcome, or worse unfairly harmed in any way. Dubai and the UAE is not the sort of place which you seem to want to describe it as. It is not the sort of place which routinely or randomly mistreats its foreign residents. This is one reason why so many of us are here.

The treatment of persons of HIV status, however, is unfortunately unfair and a blemish on the character of this country. As a resident here for 10 years, however, I prefer to look at the bigger picture. In many ways, the UAE is still a fair and positive environment in which to establish one's home. I have, by the way, met many UAE nationals who have made me feel welcome and comfortable in their country.

الإماراتي دوت كوم said...

NIce post, but totally disagree. here was out take on it a while back:

http://www.al-emarati.com/2010/05/un-gives-numbers-on-hiv-in-emirates_15.html

B.D. said...

^^ I followed your link and must say I cannot agree with that sort of attitude. Human behavior is never black and white and neither should the response to it. One needs to approach the situations others face with some amount of compassion and at least make some effort to understand the circumstances before casting some blanket judgement. That kind of intolerance does nothing for society.

Anonymous said...

Nothing has changed in the UAE's HIV policy, and you have to be alerted when you attempt to renew your visa and do the blood test if you afterwards get a call from the medical centre to go there for a "retest". This most likely means they have already found something in your blood sample and not, as they explained in my case, that "the first sample was not sufficient".
When I, a senior executive of European origin, received this call for retesting, I already felt that something unpleasant will happen.
And it did indeed. One week after the "retest" I received another call from the Al Muhaisna Medical Centre in Dubai to come over with my PRO to sign some documents. Extremely worried, I went there and asked the administator what the issue was. He angrily said he is not supposed to explain anything in front of me. The PRO was handed over a sealed envelope and told to escort me to Al Baraha Hospital "for further examination". Over there, another administrator opened the envelope, ordered a third blood sample to be taken and told me to follow somebody to a "medical station" next door.
When I entered the station, I was guided through a door which - to my surprise - was immediately locked after I entered. I found myself in a room together with eight other people from different nationalities who told me that this place was a kind of detention cell for people who have been blacklisted for being "unfit to work" and are waiting for deportation. None has been told what the medical problem was.
Suddenly my cell phone rang and the human ressources manager of my company was asking me how I am. I asked her what the hell was going on and she politely explained that I have been found HIV positive and that is why they've detained me. She added that my labour contract has already been cancelled and they will buy me a one-way ticket to my hometown for a flight in about three days.
I was totally shocked about this treatment after three years of good conduct and hard work in the UAE, being locked up like a criminal and out of a sudden to be kicked out of the country, just having paid a full year's rent to my landlord and not given any chance to sort out my things, let alone saying good bye to my friends and colleagues, who where left in the dark by the company about my sudden absence, and were afraid to ask because it was not the first time somebody's desk was suddenly left empty and they feared it might happen to them as well.

B.D. said...

^^ Sounds truly humiliating and unjust. Ill treatment of HIV positive people has to be among the top faults of this country. I would add to that list the phenomenon of jailing people for their debts--regardless the amount or their culpability--and the abusive labor practices. Among these three the labor issue gets the most attention and is the one most likely to improve. The debtor issue also gets a lot of attention and is also likely to improve in time. The HIV issue on the other hand is much less likely to get the attention or action needed.

Time will tell. At least this little post is getting noticed and I would suspect by people on both sides of the issue.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

i fled the country after i was informed I was going to go have a "retest" in a government hospital. I didn't know exactly i had hiv yet, but being a reader of your first post when i ended up in dubai sometime 2006, I didn't want to take any chances. I do NOT want to have to be deported.

long story short i got confirmation about my hiv status in my home country and decided not to come back to dubai.

the whole two month experience was... painful. My life, as you can imagine, was completely left behind dubai. Furniture, food, debts, etc etc. This is but half of it. The other half was the painful realization that i had HIV of course.

ah well. life has to go on doesn't it?

i wish there could have been just maybe three months or so that i could have prepared for the final departure out of dubai. just to prepare for another major change for me you know?

about a month after i left dubai for the last time and after discovering i had hiv, i found myself wondering what an absolutely topsy turvy two months it all had been.

I mourned the promising career i had in dubai. i was doing pretty well and i was shooting up the ranks in a huge company.

i'm fine now, having repatriated myself in my home country. found a good job back here as well.

tsk. i'm just happy i'm emotionally mature enough not to break down in despair during the whole ordeal. my friends were the ones who bore the brunt of it though as everyone at work turned towards them demanding for explanations.

oh, and where I got the virus? from someone in dubai. hnh.

B.D. said...

^^What you went through is exactly the sort of thing that makes this whole thing such a disgrace. It isn't the illness that destroys people but the official treatment by authorities. It is the way one might expect convicted criminals to be treated and not those who have contracted an illness. It isn't 21st century at all but classic medieval society.

But at least you were forewarned so as not to have been arrested and detained. I was reading today a 2015 Plan that Dubai had devised a few years ago. Part of that was to improve human rights and justice in the country. It doesn't therefore make any sense in that regard to continue with such an inhumane policy in the guise of guarding against the spread of disease.

Anonymous said...

Well its sad to know all this happening in Dubai and this discremination for people with hiv i would understand if they do it first when you just arrive there like us, canada but not after you are living there then you have to do it again that bit silly as some people lose their jobs, life style plus their status and sure the way they deal with people with hiv its not acceptable i would recommand all people who had such experience to send emails to human rights as they are on their back
just wanna know the person who had his mobile in the cell where they arrest him, have u taken a picture and record some voices for people who were there to send it to human rights.
the person whos saying i got it from someone in Dubai this exist everywhere and its each person responsability so never blame others .

Anonymous said...

Dear Both,

I have read the whole stories from both of you and made me reliazed that I shouldn't be there for such a bad experience.

I am going to work in Abu Dhabi for a hide skins leather factory run by UAE's government. So last night I was on internet and I have checked for more information about Employment Visa and Residancy Visa both will be done after make a medical screening. Job offer is wonderful with income. I'm 27 and hiv+ for 8 years already..

So I found an important test is HIV. I was shock!and couldn't stop thinking for search for an alternative to avoid this test.

IT A MUST POLICY!

They just disable my life my opportunity to have a normal life and working normal without fearness!

So I found your post as well here. Then I read and I thought that I just have to my employer that I am not cabale to work with them according to me medical problem.

I am sad to loose my opportunity in my life! I never thought or found that they has this kind of policy like China and UAS.anddd UAE.

Do you think I should just go there and try the frist three months with them? Or I should be here in Bangkok. Any advice?? But I couldn't accept the way they locked in the room like you said!! It's like they are going to kill camels to get there skins to do goods..

I'm happy in my country and I'm really healthy with a lot of energy accept my blood!

Anonymous said...

BB.

And I know if I work for the government of UAE. There won't be any acception to not to do the test! What if they could? who will be garuntee?

Anonymous said...

As you are asking for advice I can just tell you, don't go there and pick up this job by any means. HIV test is compulsory for the resident visa and as soon as the see your status they will for sure lock you up for deportation, kick you out and ban you for lifetime. You will get an iris screening and find yourself on the blacklist. You will never be able to enter the UAE again, not even on a transit flight. So stay in your country where they are able to cope with the disease in a human manner. Sorry but that's the truth.

Anonymous said...

To the Person who got HIV+ in Dubai :
do you sleep with locals "emirati"?
emirati people never get tested ..and i know alots of them with hiv+ in UAE that i went to school with and all of them are sneaky ..dont give a s*** about nobody ....don't trust them ...other than locals very much safe except the cabin crew ppl .

Anonymous said...

This is the same story I had experienced in RAK.

My Jebel Ali based company asked me to go to RAK to apply for my medical test. My company has a sister company based in RAK and let me use the RAK visa to accept me as an employee.

I came there early May for my initial check-up. A week after,our PRO received an email that I need to go back to RAK for a "retest". I came back, and they took blood from me again. At the back of my mind, I was thinking that they have missed calling the police and made me think that I need to do something to delay things and get validation from a local clinic in Dubai.

The Dubai clinic confirmed that I am HIV+.

The next week, the expected things happened. I was asked to go to RAK to cancel my VISA application, my passport is with them so really I dont have a choice. I went with my friends and colleague, police came to the hospital and picked me up. I was locked in a secluded cell segregated from people.

I was there for 4 days of solitary confinement. I was crying for help. They just gave me a piece of material to sleep in jail. Like a criminal.

They confiscated my phone. And didn't even allow me to call my friends where I was. It was a very traumatic experience for me. I felt I committed a crime...but I know in fact I was a victim.

Day before my release, they let me call the phone to alert my friends that my things need to be packed and we'll meet at the airport. That day as we'll police sent me to the Ministry of Interior with cufflinks on both my hands and feet to put me in the blacklist of people with HIV.

That was an ordeal I don't want to happen to anyone. So to people reading this, I suggest that before you take any government test for HIV, try to consult a private clinic and go fly back to your nativeland when you are tested positive.

B.D. said...

^^Thanks for sharing this with readers of the post. It's one thing to read third hand accounts and assumption or speculation of what happens and another to hear it first hand. I hope others who've suffered this will also share it. The more first hand accounts we hear, the more clear it becomes that this is a real problem. Good luck as you pick up the pieces.

Anonymous said...

So sad, for me i was in holiday and went to my doctor back home checked it and found m self + was really under the shock even my residence wasnt going to be renew at that time but i was feeling not comfortable in the uae i stayed there for 2 months after i resigned and cant tell you how the 2 months were for me awfull was scared something would happen to me then i will go threw all this as we all know how they deal with people with hiv, i will say i was bit lucky that i found out back home but even its still hard i was doing good there now i have to start from 0 but really uae government should look up after this specially for people renewing thats not fair you get it in teir country then they dont accept you after i wish i never went to dubai

B.D. said...

You were lucky you found out while out of the country. If only the people who decide it's OK to arrest and deport people because of an illness would think for one second what it does to that person's life. The policy is inhumane and it has no rationality. It does nothing to reduce the spread of the disease when it means the last thing one would do is take the test in the UAE.

Treating people humanely by letting them get tested without penalty of expulsion is the best way to deal with this effectively. What value is there in any society to treat people unfairly? There are lots of difficult issues--health issues, economic, environmental, etc--that governments have to struggle to deal with. But this is a matter of hardship that is actually created by the willful act of government.

Anonymous said...

yeah you re right i was bit lucky but where is luck when i got hiv i cant get with it i cant accept my self living with it, and now am not missing uae am missing my friends there i really miss them its so hard illness+leaving the place where you live your friends you loose your job how can someone deal with this am not in good mood at all sorry guys

B.D. said...

^^ I think, in time, you'll get over missing your friends, your job and even the humiliating treatment you experienced here. That is one of the "blessings" in life--time heals. Time heals, as long as the cause of the problem is rectified. With HIV I suppose the most important thing is to maintain healthy habits, get treatment when needed and stay positive emotionally. These are all doable, which is why treating HIV as the plague (by the UAE government) is irrational and unforgivable.

As to contracting the illness, I don't thing blame belongs on anyone for this. Whether the cause was something we did or something completely accidental, as human beings we are simply vulnerable to mistakes. Life is about learning lessons and moving on. Best of luck to you. I'm sure things will get better.

Anonymous said...

By the way this is the poster from RAK who was tested + there.

I am now back in my homeland and I'm going to retake the HIV exam today, wishful thinking that I don't have this sickness. I'll get to know other people with this sickness here in my country and will try to come out and tell this unfortunate story to my family.

Being a closet case and having HIV

Anonymous said...

By the way this is the poster from RAK who was tested + there.

I am now back in my homeland and I'm going to retake the HIV exam today, wishful thinking that I don't have this sickness. I'll get to know other people with this sickness here in my country and will try to come out and tell this unfortunate story to my family.

Being a closet case and having HIV will be a major blow my very conservative family. I wish that all the expats take proper care and get protection at all cost. My primary suspect to this is my regular local partner whom I trusted. We never used protection as per his request. Ironically, this guy works for the immigration and was unreachable for a couple of months.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!
How freaky and scary and really so hypocritical of the UAE government and rulership. I work in Abu Dhabi and I love it. But every hotel bar has prostitutes in them. Men I have met, local and other nationalities have access to all sorts of porn. But all internet dating sites are blocked and some educational sites also blocked if they have too much graphic information.
You can not buy tampons everywhere but in any pharmacy and even little shop you can buy condoms and creams for women to supposedly make their breasts larger or firmer ;)

So why should people with HIV be treated like contaminated criminals? There are many other illnesses that can affect ones 'ability to work' much more, diabetes is an epidemic there.

It does not help anyone to place blame for this disease that ironically does not discriminate against what type of person becomes infected.
But still it must be recognized that if one was exposed to it while working in the UAE it is there dangerously existing undetected.
For the government to treat this virus in this way only produces more fear and misinformation of the worst sort.

Meanwhile, it seems obvious that there must be emirati people who are HIV + and not know. Most emirati men marry young and are encouraged to have large families. So what about the children being born?

Not only is the treatment by UAE govt towards expat residents inhumane and a travesty against basic human rights, it is dangerous for their own growing population.

If this country wants to be at the cutting edge of technology and science it must accept that sex outside of marriage happens with all nationalities including their own and the best way to deal with STDs, especially HIV, is to allow treatment of them for anyone diagnosed with it.

Even if treatment is not possible for expat residents they should be allowed to make their own arrangements and leave the country with dignity and respect.

I hope something will be done to change this shocking situation and also wish that sound education could be made available for all teenagers so they have a chance to care for their sexual health.

This situation is really very disturbing!

Anonymous said...

I live in the UAE and want to get tested. Zack Medical Center comes up prominently in online searches and their website assures confidentiality. But is this really so--can anyone corroborate? Aren't medical clinics in the UAE required by law to report HIV positive results to the government?

I would appreciate if anyone who has tried Zack's could comment. In the meantime I have no choice but to remain untested thereby not knowing my own status, living with the anxiety that entails and also risking passing on the infection. When you just don't know you continually oscillate between despair and feeling all is well.

If in fact you're in the clear then all that worry has been for nothing. But if you are in fact infected then those times you don't worry and live life as normal could be the moments you inadvertently infect others. The lack of confidential testing in the UAE is bad news any way you look at it.

Anonymous said...

How do you have "no choice" but to stay untested? How about being a decent human being and getting a test and accepting responsibility? Just a thought.

Also, VISAs are 2 yrs. It means u will be force tested for ur renewal anyways.

The fact that u might have caught something means u have been sleeping around which is illegal in the UAE. So much for being a law abiding resident.

I contacted Zack and they said that by confidential they mean they will keep the fact that u had the tests confidential. And some of the results that are treatable.

They said that by law they must report HIV+ as they can lose their license and the doctors involved can be deported with a life ban if they dont.

So get tested now on ur own terms or have it done while renewing visa at tje govt hospital. Either way if ur positive ull b deported soo enuf.

Or u could take leave go home n get tested thr n if its positive not come back.

Anonymous said...

Quick response--thanks for answering my question! Sounds like a plausible explanation of how Zack's can offer "confidential" testing while still abiding by gov't stipulation that HIV positive results be reported.

Unfortunately, however, it means there is still no viable testing option for the expat who wants/needs to get tested. The bottom line remains that if tested HIV positive in the UAE one faces arrest and immediate deportation.

This is what I meant by, "no choice." I don't think it is fair or responsible that anyone have to subject themselves to the risk of arrest and deportation in order to determine medical fitness. The simple result of this is that I and others will simply not do the test and deal with the visa issue when it arises.

Yes, there is the option of having the test done overseas, but this can be costly and logistically quite difficult. But I agree that it is better than the risk of getting tested at Zack's or anywhere else in the UAE.

I prefer not to debate the rationale or legality of prosecuting people on the bases of suspected sexual activity. That question is too tied up with religion and politics to expect a reasonable discussion to take place. Anyway, once again, a sincere thanks for your helping us to better understand the true meaning of the word "confidentiality" in this context.

B.D. said...

For more helpful comments plz refer to comments around this date at the original HIV post.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I saw this blog a year ago and found these postings pretty scary.
I was just diagnosed with HIV (fortunately in London).
I went home in July and got re-tested and came back to finish y contract.
I have just finished and got my gratuity and am going home to get proper med tratment and be safe!

I have loved liiving here (6years) but the fear and discrimination that goes with this disease is just sooooo wrong. I got it hear and shoud not be punished for having a now manageable disease.
There have been a few articles in the National recently. I am thinking about writing to them and telling them about me now I am leaving. The only way to overcome this disease is to de-criminalise it and let the scientists keep working on cure and vaccine and I know both will happen!

B.D. said...

The stories are scary. (Wonder if you can share a link for the recent newspaper articles.) On the one level we see prognosis for a(n) HIV+ diagnosis as more promising. It is very clearly a treatable condition and one can live a very long and normal life with it. On the other hand, we don't see any policy changes here in the UAE to accept these individuals. There is a "Health Care City" in Dubai where the UAE wants to promote medical tourism while also sending the message that certain illnesses are criminal. With health care should come a big dose of compassion. I encourage you to write to the National. It's obvious the press here is tippie-toeing around the issue, but they sometimes manage to take an angle that offers some masked criticism. Perhaps sharing your story with them could help them with this angle.

adam hilton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

YET IN THE UAE AND STUCK
This story happened after being tested in the UAE by 3 months.
I’m a kind of a person who is somewhat conservative, mindful, managing the matters most perfectly, and i have had a good happy life.
Oneday the shock came, hearing that a very close friend of mine has been infected.
That day of course as anyone would do, I could not stop thinking of what if it was in me too. Then I made many researches about a secret “confidential” clinic to make my test in, until i found out that I better do it in some another country.
In about two months later, I have made my travel for my purpose and came back to UAE in two days discovering that what i was scared about has came true.
Nowadays, it has been about a year and I’m still in UAE struggling to find out a solution to my situation but nothing much so far. Knowing that I managed it to meet a speciallist doctor in another X country and have bought the most proper treatment i could reach. – That was after being cheated twice (another long story).
I am a bit relaxed knowing that i can find a place to buy the treatment from, but my problem now is I’m still stuck and no safe place to go to.
I can not go to my homeland which is in a terrifying situation and could not provide me a secure place and/or a right treatment.
Also, I can not afford the huge expenses of returning to the same X country i bought the treatment from and stay there for long (the treatment was expensive by the way).
Else, and the main difficult problem is that I can not freely move and travel because of my middle eastern passport.
For now, no much time left to me in the UAE until renewing my resident visa, and I’m living my life day by day trying to find something out for my salvation.
I can write a whole book about the details that happened to me since discovering my status until reaching to this site but i don’t want to prolong it more.
In fact, I am writing this letter to all readers in hope to find someone that can come out with a good helpful idea or who can give an appreciated help of any kind.
P.S. There is no creature on earth knows about my situation except the doctor who described me the treatment and the infected close friend of mine, And I am not in a position to let any close people to know.

adam hilton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adam hilton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I would really appreciate any kid of help or opinion.
You can email me to: adamhilton150@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

hi

Anonymous said...

Please help.

My very close friend has been diagnosed with HIV+ after a test in a private hospital in duabi. He's now been informed that he will be transferred to a state hospital to go through the process (I assume re testing then deportation). Should he/ can he leave the country on his own asap? I understand medics won't let him out but is it worth it to just escape directly to the airport?

Is there anything wise one can do here?

B.D. said...

Based on how you describe it. I would say that your friend has already experienced the worst of it, i.e. having his freedom taken away as though he were a criminal. I don't suppose there is much he can do now except let the process work its way through. On the other hand, if your friend has his passport with him and is not locked up in a room or under guard, then he could perhaps walk away of his own volition and try to exit the country through another airport in one of the other emirates where his case might be less likely to have been entered into the system.

Anonymous said...

He decided to go through the process but I don't think it's wise. There's no guard or anything by the room and it's Friday today - nothing's happening.

I realise it's easy for me to say anything when am in a different country.

I think his main concern is friends around him in dubai. If he leaves the country, he's worried they could be identified by the hospital, tracked down and prosecuted for helping him to flee. Everything is likely in dubai.

Anyway, thanks for the input.


Anonymous said...

An update for those who may also come across this page in their searches

I think the process is improving slightly in duabi compared to what's described above.
Now the authorities have cancelled my friend's visa but he has been released to give him time to prepare to get deported (car, house ..etc). They still have his passport and he'll need to go and see them in the airport to confirm his departure.

B.D. said...

THANK YOU. That is a very helpful thing to hear.

Anonymous said...

Hi there i want to test at zack i am hiv unknown and i dont want to go my home country now if i will be hiv+ because i get acute hiv symptoms so scared any suggestion please it is already 6 month of my exposure

Anonymous said...

if someone has been deported, with no Ban on his passport, would it be possible for him to re-enter the country? (noting that he cannot apply for visa, he gets the visa at the airport)

Anonymous said...

I am a Canadian citizen who lived and worked in Abu Dhabi from 2010-2013 as a government employee. I called this place home, had a job, apartment, car, and friends and enjoyed living there.

I have been back in Canada for three months now. My nightmare began early September when I was renewing my residency visa. I found out then I was HIV +.

The doctor didn't have too, but did. Told me to get out quickly on my own. As I would be arrested, quarantined and eventually deported. Still in shock from my results, my only thought was 'I can't be arrested along with this new news....I couldn't handle it emotionally'. So I made plans to flee and somehow within 24hours, my life of three years ended.....I didn't have time to say good-bye, left belongings, basically gave away my car for quick cash and the whole time thinking at any moment they would come arrest me.

The night that plane moved back from the gate and the relief that I wasn't thrown in prison,,,,,I startied crying..... Only then realizing I was HIV+ and would be for the rest of my life. Lucky for me, Canada is a great country who helps- I'm now on anti-viral medicine and undectable.....

I still miss my life in the UAE, my friends, and can't believe that within 24 hours it was all gone! I've been reading and if I had to be working in Qatar, this would not have happened. They don't deport expats who test positive on visa renewal.

I still feel empty and used by the UAE government. I teach your children for three years and when I needed you the most- you make me flee my life in fear of arrest/prison/deportation. Shame on you UAE! At least, have the common decency to let expats get their affairs in order, say good-byes etc.......I never asked to become HIV+ and it could happen to anyone of us, so I hope you make changes, so others don't have to live the nightmare I lived those hours after being told I was HIV+!

3:39 PM, November 21, 2013
Anonymous said...
I am grateful for the doctor who apologized for his backward country, told me it wasn't a death sentence and that Canada was one of the best places to be going back too for treatment and for allowing me the opportunity to flee within 24 hours on my terms and not as others have described above .....UAE was a great place to live until something like this happens and you realize your paradise was actually hell!

Anonymous said...

That's a good question! The comments have said that those that were detained then deported had their retinal scans and placed on a list. If you found out and left before deportation and your employer ( they were sent the results several days later) accepted your resignation and things were done normally. Would there be a ban on that individual? I know ever living there again is not possible, but can you enter on a tourist visa? I know other comments have said once banned (deported) you could never return. Is there a way to find out? Just curious!

Bruce Dauphin said...

I think it may help to break these questions down a bit. There is the question of (1)a ban stamped in the passport. If one gets a new passport they can circumvent that physically stamped ban. (2)But the ban may be entered into the computer system. Even so, it would be linked to the passport number and/or passport holder's name. A new passport with a different number of course and a different name (more difficult to manage) should circumvent that issue. (3)The retina scan is one you can't get around. However, tourists with automatic visas on arrival are not retina scanned--I'm not sure about those required to apply for visit visas. So this suggests that even if one has been retina scanned, arriving as a visa on arrival tourist or in transit should not be a problem. But, you would have to have gotten a new passport with perhaps an altered name to avoid the other risks. These are my presumptions.