Thursday, November 6, 2008

UAE Approves Use of PEP Throughout Country

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Global Challenges

The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health recently approved the use of eight different antiretroviral drugs for post-exposure prophylaxis throughout the country, the Gulf News reports. According to the News, PEP will be available only with a prescription and a recommendation from health authorities and/or the health ministry.

Farida Al Hosani -- senior regional officer for public health and policies at the Health Authority Abu Dhabi and a member of the National HIV Committee at the health ministry -- said, "PEP is not 100% effective; it cannot guarantee that exposure to HIV will not become a case of HIV infection." Al Hosani added that her current focus is to council, assure, create trust and explore the feelings of people who feel they are at risk of contracting HIV. Al Hosani said, "We receive reports about the condition from people who had unsafe sex. If this person's partner admits he/she has HIV, they should instantly contact us and we may give them an [antiretroviral] to help reduce the chances of exposure. The problem is that HIV-positive people rarely admit it."

According to the News, the identity of people who undergo HIV testing in the country is kept confidential. However, health authorities are required by law to report HIV/AIDS cases, and HIV-positive expatriates are deported (El Shammaa, Gulf News, 11/4).