Abu Dhabi: A Ugandan domestic worker who has been diagnosed with HIV is suspected to have absconded from her UAE-based sponsor.

This information was disseminated across social media platforms, including WhatsApp, on Wednesday.

Commenting on the issue, Dr Farida Al Hosani, deputy manager of communicable diseases at HAAD, told Gulf News: “There is a comprehensive set of procedures and coordination with the Ministry of Interior regarding the testing of domestic workers, including cooks, drivers, maids, nannies and gardeners. A first blood sample is taken and in case a virus is detected, the sponsor is called to bring the ill worker in order for us to obtain a second blood sample.”

Even if a dangerous illness, such as Aids, is detected during the first test, Al Hosani said, the sponsor and the worker are not informed until the results of the second tests are out.

“Upon being sure that a domestic worker is infected [with a viral disease such as Aids], we promptly inform the ministry, in order to request that the sponsor bring the maid to the workers’ office,” she said.

“In the case of this particular worker, I believe she may have previously known about her illness before coming to the UAE. Upon undergoing the first test, she decided to abscond before the authorities knew about her condition,” Dr Farida added.

The official warned UAE citizens and residents against dealing with unlicensed domestic helpers due to the risk of falling victim to contagious and threatening illnesses.

“Tuberculosis is considered one of the most dangerous diseases, even more so than Aids, because it is airborne, especially in enclosed spaces such as houses and offices and can be transmitted merely through breathing and the most vulnerable victims are children and the elderly,” she said.

“We hope that governments that export domestic labourers to the UAE can cooperate with us by sending individuals’ test results beforehand as this will ease procedures. Sponsors and family members are urged to conduct tests for any employees working for them in order to maintain public health and safety,” she added.

A police comment on the maid was not immediately available.