Fraudsters circulate fake HIV/AIDS status letters

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Fraudulent letters are being circulated informing people they have been exposed to HIV/AIDS, according to officials at the AIDS Secretariat.

The agency has raised the alarm over the issue – and reiterated this is not a method it uses to inform people about their status.

“Somebody has been out there writing persons, informing them that one of their partners has gone into the national AIDS programme and has tested positive for HIV. (He/she) has given the individual’s name as a contact to be tested, and these letters are being posted,” Williams told state television on Monday.

The agency’s standard procedure, according to manager of the National AIDS Programme Delcora Williams, is to contact those who might be at risk by conducting a visit to their homes and informing them of the risks after careful analysis.

Williams said the agency is not in the practice of issuing letters, taking into consideration the health and well-being of individuals.

She said, so far, the secretariat has seen two such letters and has launched a probe to find the culprits who are “bringing the operations of the agency into disrepute”.

“They are posted in the mail, so persons are opening letters to this news and it is a cause for concern. We have informed the permanent secretary in the (Health) ministry, who is quite ready to take legal action, because it is just not the way it is done within the national AIDS programme. We don’t write letters,” Williams said.

The officials have issued a strong warning to the unknown individuals to desist from doing such “unlawful” acts.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)


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