Abuse of HIV/AIDS patients


HIV/AIDS is a worldwide epidemic, primarily killing people in poor countries in Asia and Africa. Nearly one-third of countries do not have access to counseling, social support and medical care. They also suffer economic rights and do not have laws to protect them. Also, because of traditional values and norms, safer sex practices continue to be difficult in most of the countries which makes prevention difficult. They have also been deprived of CD4 cell count facilities, and of the widely available antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.

For women, the situation is particularly worrisome.

One of my friends was infected with the HIV virus by her husband who did not inform her about the HIV infection prior to their marriage. She did not receive any medical, emotional or financial help. From that day on, her parents did not allow her to enter their house. After that incident, no one would talk to her. They did not even allow her to join in social gatherings. Everywhere, she was criticized. On May 28, 2014, I met her. "I want to know something about you and your disease,” I said.

"My story has been one without any compromise,” she replied. “Living with the HIV virus is hell." I later heard that she committed suicide in June, for being HIV-positive.

The Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, recounted several cases where AIDS carriers and activists were imprisoned, or killed.

"In June 2005, Octavio Acuña Rubio, an AIDS and human rights activist, was stabbed to death,” according to Human Rights Watch. “In June 2006, Vivian Kavuma was murdered by her lover in Uganda after disclosing that she was infected with HIV. In November 2005, Steve Harvey, an outspoken AIDS activist in Jamaica, was murdered. In April 2006, Isaiah Gakuyo, 15, was killed by his uncle for being HIV-positive.”

"Twenty-five years into the epidemic, people living with HIV or AIDS are still feared and stigmatized,” said Joe Amon, director of the HIV/AIDS Program at Human Rights Watch. “We can't defeat AIDS unless we end outrageous abuses against activists, outreach workers, people living with AIDS and those most vulnerable to infection. Defeating AIDS is still more a question of political will than one of knowledge or know-how.”

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