Dubai: A Saudi HIV-positive national has been forced to live in a tent in Dammam, Saudi Arabia’s largest Eastern Coast city, after his family deserted him and he had no money to rent a house.
Ali Al Dossari attributed the family’s decision to leave him to the fear of his wife and five children that he would spread the infection to them even though their laboratory tests were negative. He is now pleading to have a simple room where he can sit with his children, arguing that the doctor told him that they would not be infected by merely sitting with him.
Al Dossari, an unemployed man who was thrown out of the house he was renting for lack of money, said that he was infected when he used a non-sterile syringe for drug injection, local Arabic daily Al Sharq reported on Wednesday.
The Saudi, in his 40s, said that security servicemen had once asked him to vacate the place where he set up his tent, but they eventually allowed him to stay after they read the medical reports detailing his case and he told them about his difficult situation.
“I have contacted several charity institutions seeking assistance, but I was invariably told that help was provided on a first-come first-served basis,” he said. One institution offered him meat and chicken.
However, an official from the social affairs ministry denied Al Dossari’s claims that he did not receive financial assistance from them.
“We deposited 13,695 Saudi riyals (Dh13,407)) on December 31, 2010 in his personal account at Al Rajhi Bank because he was a former prisoner while his family got 2,383 riyals every month when he was serving the sentence,” Faleh Abdullah Al Mazaid, an adviser in charge of executive matters with the ministry, said.
His family was also given 13,000 riyals on September 11, 2010, the official said.
“The issue of providing accommodation is not within the prerogatives of the ministry and falls under the authority of the housing ministry. We will however send a social researcher to help him apply for a house,” he said.
Awareness and prevention efforts in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries about Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids), have been often hampered by the social stigma associated with this.