AJMAN // Five men and five women have been deported from the emirate this year after being found to be HIV-positive.
Ajman has tested more than 41,000 expatriates seeking residency visas this year and found 129 of them with contagious diseases, Hamad Turaym Al Shamsi, the director general of Ajman medical zone, said.
He was speaking yesterday at the launch of an Aids-awareness campaign for workers at Ajman Preventive Medicine Centre. The programme is run by Ajman medical zone, the Dubai Police and Unicef. The three-day Aids awareness seminar will continue until tomorrow.
"Today our health team is very open regarding Aids," Mr Al Shamsi said. "We need to break the silence and create awareness about the dangers of this deadly disease."
Among the banned contagious diseases are Aids/HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis and leprosy. Those who test positive are deported.
Dubai Police have already launched an awareness campaign with the slogan "Unite for Children, unite against Aids".
Dubai Police brochures on Aids awareness were distributed to more than 200 workers at the seminar. The pamphlets were printed in English, Arabic, Russian, Hindi, Chinese and Urdu.
"The brochures are in the simplest language that can be understood by every worker," said Dr Hassan Abdul Munim, a public health consultant at the Ajman Preventive Medicine Centre.
He added that workers can call Dubai Police's toll-free number 800 2437 for information on Aids.
The seminar also aimed to raise awareness among health workers about how to handle testing, said Ahmed Al Hashimi, the director of the Ajman Preventive Medicine Centre.
"They have to be good counsellors and make people feel at ease while undergoing the tests," he said. "People should have confidence they are not going for a life trial, but a health test. And those found with the virus should be told it's not the end of life."
One doctor at the centre, who preferred anonymity, said most of the people who turned up for blood tests to get their residency visas were afraid.
"To most people, it's not all about having HIV or not, but it's about deportation," he said.