Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi AIDS patients who refuse to cooperate with the health authorities will be referred to the police, according to a new initiative launched by the government.
The move aims to halt the spread of the virus in the Kingdom by encouraging AIDS patients to resume taking adequate precautions or face punishment.
The committee, which includes representatives from a number of government departments, decided to, “inform Jeddah police of the names and addresses of AIDS patients who are uncooperative and the neighborhoods that witness a rise in AIDS cases in order for the policy to take the necessary procedures to halt the spread of the virus. The names will be dropped from police lists when the patients cooperate with the relevant health authorities.”
As for non-Saudi AIDS patients, the government committee indicated that all public and private clinics and hospitals must inform the health authorities of suspected cases, or face penalties.
The authority for foreign residents will also be required to update its information about AIDS cases in order to extradite these patients to their home countries.
According to the latest government statistics, from the year 1984 until 2004, 8919 cases were detected and 1111 individuals contracted AIDS in 2005. Half of these cases are in Jeddah, with 16% living in Riyadh.