Mark S. King

Mubarek's Bloody AIDS Legacy

Filed By Mark S. King | February 03, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Egypt, government, HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS discrimination, homophobic behavior, Hosni Mubarak, tolerance

If you need further reasons to feel queasy about U.S. support for Egypt's "he wasn't all that bad" dictator, Housing Works has posted a heartbreaking article about the treatment of people living with HIV.Thumbnail image for Egypt.jpg

The piece describes a country with complete intolerance for anyone with HIV. If you have it, you don't come in. If you test positive for it (through mandatory, involuntary testing), you're imprisoned. If you're hospitalized with it, don't bother finding the remote. Your hands will be chained to the bed.

Police have blanket authority to intimidate certain populations," said Joe Amon, director of the HIV/AIDS program at Human Rights Watch. "There's a lot of homophobia, and police have targeted the communities, arrested gay men, gone through their address books [and] conducted forceful anal exams.

The incidence of those with HIV is highly underestimated by official reporting, but many of those who test positive are spared the indignities of being abused. If they are foreigners, are simply kicked out of the country. More than 700 at last count.

For those suspected of being gay and of having HIV, you can just imagine the treatment they receive - or not.

In 2007 and 2008, the government launched a crackdown on people living with HIV, arresting at least twelve men suspected of being HIV-positive, calling them a public health threat. Police beat several of them, later subjecting the arrested individuals to anal examinations to "prove" they had engaged in homosexual conduct. Authorities charged them with "habitual debauchery," a term Human Rights Watch says Egypt uses to punish homosexuality, which is not specifically penalized in the country's legal code.

Some were chained to their beds for days in a Cairo hospital. Authorities gave all of the men HIV tests without consent -- those who tested positive were convicted to a maximum of three years in jail. "People like you should be burnt alive," a prosecutor reportedly told one of the men, when informing him that he was HIV-positive. "You do not deserve to live."

The uprising isn't simply a cry for freedom from the general population. It includes people with HIV, for whom their government's abuse is far more deadly than the virus.

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Mubarak's views on HIV and gay people are so outdated and homophobic that it would take volumes to illustrate. Anyone interested should do some research on the Queen Boat Incident in Egypt that was staged by Mubarak's government to entrap and subsequently torture a large number of Egyptian gay men--many of whom were professional, highly educated individuals (A movie about this tragedy titled "Toul Omry" by a gay Egyptian director now living in the West is a must-see for anyone interested in violence against the LGBT community in Egypt; check YouTube). Suffice it to say that the intimidation, killing and violence against Egyptian gays and lesbians has been horrific.

Even other Arab countries like Jordan and Lebanon have lifted the ban that prohibited HIV-positive people from entering.

The sooner Egypt gets rid of this homophobic dictator, the better.

I am happy to say that I met someone on an STD dating site (( and a year later he is moving to where I live and we are a perfect match! Despite our similar std's we have so much more in common that outshines that small physical imperfection in us both. I am so glad I found your site. Hope you all can find love and support too~~~