Malaysian doctor deletes stigmatizing COVID-19 tweets that said ‘homosexual habits cause AIDS’

Screenshot of Dr Nurul Yaqeen’s deleted tweet, at left. World AIDS Day ribbon, at right. Photos: Nurul Yaqeen/Twitter, Jupiter Images
Screenshot of Dr Nurul Yaqeen’s deleted tweet, at left. World AIDS Day ribbon, at right. Photos: Nurul Yaqeen/Twitter, Jupiter Images

A Malaysian doctor has apologized and deleted a series of tweets highlighting the risk of COVID-19 among AIDS patients while stigmatizing homosexual individuals. 

Nurul Yaqeen, a respiratory doctor at the Sunway Medical Centre Velocity in Kuala Lumpur, apologized for the so-called misunderstandings yesterday after she drew backlash for writing a thread that conflated homosexuality, AIDS, and the coronavirus. She even added an X-ray of a 30-year-old patient she said was suffering from the two diseases after doing “homosexual activities” for several years, noting that “homosexual habits cause AIDS.”

“The sharing was basically to highlight that Covid19 in AIDS can be fatal, and among the risk factors for HIV transmission is unsafe sexual practice apart from needle sharing,” she said. She has also apologized to the Malaysian AIDS Council. Sunway Medical Centre Velocity did not immediately respond to Coconuts KL’s request for further comment.

Nurul’s apology came hours after the now-deleted thread titled “COVID-19 and HOMOSEXUALS” went up. 

In it, she said that the 30-year-old patient had been “taking part in homosexual activities since eight years ago.”

“Symptoms include hard of breathing for two weeks, coughing for two days, and coughing blood for a day. The condition is so serious that a tube was needed to be inserted into the lungs,” she said. 

Her thread drew criticism from people online, mainly for disparaging the LGBTQ community.

“Just mention AIDS and COVID 19. No need to mention the patient’s sexual orientation. If you get criticism, just accept it. Maybe that is how you learn the lesson,” @OSIIostoo replied to Nurul’s apology tweet.

“I hope Sunway Medical Centre takes seriously the fact that they have a homophobic doctor, who vilifies a patient’s sexual orientation, shared medical records (x-rays, condition) publicly without consent, and who thinks the public can be appeased by a half- hearted non apology,” @JShamsul wrote.

Deleted tweets by Nurul Yaqeen. Photos: Drnuruly/Twitter
Deleted tweets by Nurul Yaqeen. Photos: Drnuruly/Twitter

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