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07 September, 2004

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A chilling tale is told by a colleague, of a friend recently jailed for fifteen days then deported after failing a routine immigration blood test. After arriving three years ago and testing negative, Yasser [name changed] enjoyed the companionship of at least two to three women a week. These (generally professional-companion) ladies ranged across all ethnicities: from Oriental and Asian to Russian, Arab and European.

Yasser took no precautions during this time because "he knew what he was doing." Clearly he didn't, as the colleague pointed out to him in jail. He helped as much as he could, selling off Yasser's Dh36,000 of furniture for Dh1,500, selling his car for an equally knockdown price, sorting out his rent contract, and so forth. Yasser is now back in Lebanon where he is already getting medical care, but his unknown legacy remains.

At what stage in the last three years did he contract the virus? How many (hundreds?) of women has he passed it on to?

The problem with blood testing is that it creates a false sense of security. The thousands upon thousands of professional-companion ladies that work in the UAE enter on tourist visas, which do not require medical certificates. Others enter through the northern Emirates and move freely across the borders to Dubai. Legal residents go overseas on business trips, holidays, or family visits, and don't have to be retested on reentry.



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