14 May, 2006

good PR this for the tourist industry - i bet someone's not pleased.....

Police are looking at ways to screen tourists for AIDS.

It’s not clear how the tests would work, but anyone found to have the virus would be refused admission to the country, said Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Al Mur, director of the human rights department at Dubai police.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, so? If anyone is adding to the HIV problem here, it's coming from those on visitor visas, not residents.

So, perhaps they can start singling out certain regions to begin with. I would nominate the entire former Soviet bloc and China for starters. See how that goes and take it from there.

Iraq used to test all visitors for HIV.

We all know that this is not the most efficient or pleasant thing to do -- but if it helps save lives, to hell with convenience.

Seabee said...

are looking at ways to screen is the important phrase I guess.
It sure would put a hole in the target of 15 million tourists by 2010.
And picture the bureaucracy - tests either done overseas when applying for a visa, attestation by Foreign Ministries and Embassies or huge queues at DXB while teams of doctors, nurses, technicians in laboratories tested each passenger before they were let in.
It would apply to residents going overseas as well as I suppose, when we come back in.
Don't hold your breath, it ain't gonna happen.

BuJ said...

idea is good but how do u enforce it?!
also how do u satisfy (read: shut up) people who moan about personal freedom etc?

well if u ain't got anything to hide then there shouldn't be any problems.

Tim Newman said...

I would nominate the entire former Soviet bloc and China for starters. See how that goes and take it from there.

From what I have heard from doctors, the girls from the ex-USSR are pretty clean, the Chinese are as yet an unknown (they haven't been here long enough to gather enough data), and almost all the cases of HIV coming into the UAE are from Africans.

If they are going to start testing visitors for HIV, they'd better stop building these fancy new hotel complexes. There are very few tourists who think that highly of Dubai that they are prepared to undergo a blood test for the privilege of coming here.

Samawel said...

As a friend of an HIV+ person (his blog is unfortunately blocked), I realize and notice how some people can become quite discriminant of people carrying the virus.

It's disgusting how the entire thought shows an intention to the invasion of privacy. This is not the way to tackle the increase in HIV+ people in the UAE.

Most people do have a conscience, you know, if they know that they're HIV+ they'd take constraints with their sex life and do something about it. My friend's one of the founder's of RugUp, which I think is quite a good way of spreading vigilance about the entire issue. Maybe a better way is to make things clearer about the HIV/AIDS issue, not simply banning HIV+ people from coming over.

How about large and loud safe-sex ads? Despite the legal status of sex, law never stopped people from having sex. Might as well convince people that if they're going to have sex, they might as well do a safe job at it.

Hell, considering the way HIV+ people are treated here in the country, I'd keep my status to myself if I'm tested positive.

hehe, guess there's going to be a lot of moaning about the issue from me, Buj. :)

Paul Kidd said...

A ban on HIV-positive people entering the country would have little effect. The USA has had such a ban in place since 1986 (they have more than a million HIV cases now), Russia (and previously the USSR) have had a ban for just as long (another million cases there). India has a ban (5 million cases), China has a ban (there goes another million or more)...

Instead of trying to stop the virus entering the country (which means restricting the freedom of movement of people living with HIV/AIDS, implementing a complex testing process at border points, and creating a whole lot of fuss where none is needed) you could try educating people in the UAE about the importance of safe sex, and providing support and treatment to those who need it.

Despite some hysterical claims in the early years of the AIDS epidemic calling for a ban, my country (Australia) has never had restrictions on HIV+ people travelling here for tourism or business reasons (it's a little more difficult to come in as a permanent resident, and we don't have a temporary resident category), and the HIV epidemic remains well controlled.

Punishment, restriction, enforcement and restraint are very blunt tools when dealing with a virus that is no respecter of borders. Education awareness, compassion and treatment work much better.

Mohamed Elzubeir said...

Well, ignorance is still a big part of it. Everyone knows (I hope) how HIV is trasmitted, yet people feel that by touching or being remotely close to an HIV+ person puts them at risk. This is the mentality, which is not going to change easily.

TN, there's no such thing as "they're clean". All countries exporting prostitutes into the UAE carry a high risk. You have to remember that even if they come in uninfected, they could end up getting infected here.. and a good time to test this would be after a visa run (Sharjah->Kish->Sharjah or similar).

Please don't give me your 'Africans' carry the disease bull. The same Saudi who's not using a condom to sleep with the 'african' prostitute is also sleeping with the one from Uzbekistan...

And you really think that people who are HIV+ in this country actually know about it?

BuJ said...

samawel.. what's this about all of us moaning together?

well my comment about moaners was meant to show that people who complain about the lack of personal freedom sometimes use the wrong methods (hence "moaning") as opposed to doing something more positive that is likely to yield a better result for them.

your position is quite different and i agree with the comment you made in principle.. and fair enough because you have a good point.

it just pisses me off that people pick up fights for all the stupid things and when something really is worth fighting for they go and have a coffee (probably at starbucks)..

one example (UK oriented) is the introduction of ID cards. it's the stupidist thing i have heard from the government since they decided to invade iraq because they could launch weapons in 45 minutes in 2003.

the proposed ID card would be mandatory and affect us in many ways that we can wish to consider (and me to write in this short reply) but you find idiots campaining to protect a type of brazilian spider when there are only 8 left in the world. yet they ignore the plight of humans whose liberty will be robbed in the UK (60 million) and if u want to continue about humans then what about the africans.. poor africans..

an african child dies every 5 seconds...

if you read this comment in full that would mean that about 10 kids have died since u started.

i'd sacrifice the 8 spiders for the 10 kids.

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Anonymous said...

Ignorance breeds hate and fear.
Education is key to preventing disease, not banning people from travel and creating inhumane red tape.
HIV in the UAE is still deeply stigmatised and linked to sex.
But it isn't sex that transmits the virus.
It's unsafe sex, which stems from Government-sanctioned ignorance.
Grow up, infantile leaders and update your archaic faith-based policies if you ever wish to join the rest of civilisation.
Weath, by itself, can't bring enlightenment.

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