XIX International AIDS Conference

WEGS03 Breaking the Silence: Challenging HIV and AIDS Related Stigma and Discrimination in Egypt
  Presentation with Q&A
Venue: GV Session Room 1
Time: 25.07.2012, 13:00 - 14:00
Chair: Magid El Rabeiy, Egypt
While in many places in the world the fear and anxiety that surrounds HIV has been reduced, people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the Arab world are haunted by the perception that they deserve it. They remain isolated from a society which treats them as criminals, posing one of the most crucial challenges in the AIDS response in the region. The 'Forum to Fight Stigma and Discrimination Against PLHIV in Egypt,' a coalition of NGOs and PLHIV, was created to break the silence around an ignored issue and raise awareness around the rights of PLHIV in Egypt. The successes of and challenges faced by the forum will be presented and the unique nature of problems faced by PLHIV and by groups aiming to support them in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will be highlighted. The international community is encouraged to consider the specificities of the region in the global AIDS response.


'Mona' film screening

The Egyptian Anti-Stigma Forum and challenges of working on HIV-related stigma in Egypt

Challenging HIV and AIDS related stigma in Egypt: situation analysis and advocacy

T. Maarouf, Egypt

Letters from Egypt

M. El Rabeiy, Egypt

Questions and answers

Closing remarks

Powerpoints presentations
Letters from Egypt - Magid El Rabeiy

Rapporteur report

GV report by Tashrik Ahmed

A primary player in the sweeping revolution in the Mediterranean region known as the Arab spring, Egypt has garnered much media attention in the past year. Leveraging this media blitz and the broader underlying progressive movement has been the goal of a coalition of local organizations, aiming to change the dialogue concerning persons living with HIV/AIDS. The session highlighted a number of main areas in which have been identified as key stakeholders in this transition: the workplace, PLWHA, biomedical  and health care institutions, national government, religious leadership, media, and the family and community. The presenters moved through each group, highlighting the factors contributing to stigmatization and discrimination against PLWHA. Underscoring each group was general ignorance surrounding the facts of HIV infection, causing fear and misinformation. As a visceral demonstration to this effect, the presentation began with a short video called Mona. The namesake character is a young women living with HIV, scorned by her family members, unable to find work, and turned away from healthcare before encountering a sympathetic physician. The revulsion towards her serostatus on screen was then matched with data in the proceeding presentations – 35% of those surveyed in the country believe PLWHA should not be allowed to work, and almost every single positive person identified persons close to them who no longer kept contact due to the infection. Recommendations made by the panel included advocating that national laws follow international treaties and standards, approaching the religious institution in a culturally specific manner, and educating the media and positive spokespersons to increase HIV awareness and reduce stigma.


    The organizers reserve the right to amend the programme.

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