Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another sad 'positive' story

He was working in one of the Persian Gulf countries, and was one among the millions of Indians who went there to work for those oil rich economies, so that they can earn some decent wages.

There came a routine medical exam for migrant workers. He was put in a jail after the result of a Lab test. When asked what is wrong, there was no answer. Within days he was deported to India.

Utterly clueless to the reason for his deportation, he approached a local doctor. A panel of blood tests was done. He was found to be HIV positive. A second confirmatory test gave the same result. The doctor referred him to a Govt facility. Fearing stigma he never went there.

This happened 10 years ago. He never told anybody about this. He told his family that he came back because he cannot tolerate the weather there. Even his wife did not know the exact reason. He began working near his native place as a driver. His wife gave birth to 2 kids. He never had any major health problem until now.

For the last few months, he started losing weight and getting recurrent fever. After a detailed evaluation, he was diagnosed to have Lung Tuberculosis. The Chest Physician suspecting something more, asked for an HIV test. Then he revealed his 'positive' status to the doctor. The doctor promptly referred him to me.

I gave my positive talk [that I usually give to the 'positives']. I told him there is nothing to worry,I will take care of him. First we will treat and cure the Tuberculosis. Then we will attack the HIV virus. I emphasised the importance of compliance with treatment.

I was afraid for the wife, but he said she was tested negative before both her deliveries. I asked him to test her again. He came with his brother-in-law and a cousin. Both knew the truth and was supportive. I asked him to come back after few more lab tests, so that we can start anti-TB treatment. He seemed relieved and hopeful of future when he left my consulting room.

Deportation of migrant workers as if they are criminals as soon they are found to be HIV positive, is a common practise in Persian Gulf countries. The person concerned are never given a proper explanation of the test result. According to WHO/UN AIDS HIV testing guidelines , there should be a pre-test counselling and also a post-test counselling. If these guidelines were followed, after a positive test result the person will be able to understand the implication of the result and he will be guided to the proper health care facility for further management of his condition. The testing and deportation with out any explanation are clear violations of these guidelines.

Can anyone intervene to stop this inhuman testing and deportation of hapless migrant workers from Persian Gulf countries?

1 comment:

CALpumper said...

Again I ask Doc, how do you do it?

Such a sad story.
Mother and children negative??

Is he any better? How is the TB?

Breaks my heart when humans are treated this way. In no way could my personal story even come close to this one. I have endured years of discrimination against myself due to lack of understanding about Type 1 Diabetes. It is not fun but I am always forthcoming and upfront about it with anyone I meet. If they run or turn against me then I don't need them in my life.

I only wish the best for this family. I cannot imagine what they have endured and go through everyday.

Thank you for you Doc!