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Egypt: Stigmatized by AIDS

aids According to the UNICEF, reported HIV prevalence is low in Egypt – ranging from 2,900 to 13,000 individuals – but there is very limited access to information for those most at risk and weak provisions for people living with HIV. Most reported HIV cases are transmitted through unprotected heterosexual sex, 90 per cent of Egyptian women who live with HIV were infected within marriage, and Egypt has a very high level of Hepatitis C infection, a virus with similar modes of transmission to HIV. A group of bloggers and independent media personalities are supporting the “Openness” initiative that is anti-stigmatizing AIDS patients, and calls for their integration in society instead of alienating them further by educating people on how to deal with them to avoid getting infected.

In response to Enas Lotfy's invitation, several bloggers posted the following message on their blogs:

مبادرة المدونين العرب لرفع الوصم عن المتعايشين مع مرض الأيدز
في المركز الثقافي الدولي
بالدقي
السبت – 2 مايو
من الساعة السادسة إلى الساعة العاشرة
الدعوة عامة
The Arab bloggers initiative to de-stigmatize AIDS patients. This is a public invitation to show your solidarity on May 2 from 6pm to 10pm at the International Cultural Center in Dokki.
الفقرات والمواضيع التي سيتم مناقشتها
الأيدز في المنطقة العربية
-معلومات عن الفئات الأكثر عرضة للإصابة بهذا المرض وطرق الوقاية منه.

شهادات حية لمتعايشين مع فيروس مرض الأيدز.

لقاء مع قادة دينيين ونظرة الدين لمرض الأيدز والمتعايشين معه.

حوار مفتوح مع بعض أعلام الفن والصحافة.
-مبادرة صراحة: مبادرة المدونين العرب في التجاوب مع مرض الأيدز

The following topics are to be discussed:
– AIDS in the Arab region
– Information on those who are most prone to get infected and preventive measures
– Live testimonials from AIDS patients
– Discussions with religious figures and how they preview AIDS and its victims
– Open dialogue with prominent media figures
– The Openness Initiative: the Arab bloggers attempt to deal with AIDS
منذ عام 2008 وعدد من المدونين العرب من شتى الدول العربية يعملون في مجال التوعية بمرض نقص المناعة المكتسب والمعروف باسم الأيدز وذلك بالمشاركة مع البرنامج الإنمائي للأمم المتحدة وغيره من منظمات الأمم المتحدة وكذلك مع عدة جمعيات أهلية ومنظمات محلية .
Since 2008 and a number of Arab bloggers joined hands to raise awareness in their respective communities about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in coordination with UNDP/HARPAS (The HIV/AIDS Regional Programme in the Arab States) and local governmental and non-governmental organizations.
وتهدف هذه الجهود الي تحقيق عدة أمور:
تعريف الناس بمرض الأيدز بعيدا عن الخرافات والاساطير وتوفير معلومات علمية وحقائق مثبته عنه
رفع الوصم الذي يلحق بالمتعايشين مع الفيروس من أجل مساعدتهم وحماية حقوقهم وتوفير الرعاية والعلاج لهم ومدهم بكل الدعم الذي يحتاجونه.
تعريف الجمهور بأن الدولة توفر الدواء مجانيا للمتعايشين وكذلك توفر أماكن بالمجان للفحص الطوعي والاستشارة .
تعريف الجمهور بأن علماء الدين الاسلامي والمسيحي يدعون المؤمنين الي احتضان المرضي ورعايتهم وعدم وصمهم وتوفير كل سبل المساعدة لهم .
التوعية بأساليب الوقاية من المرض وكيفية حماية الاشخاص من الاصابة به.
Our efforts aim at:
– Educating people about AIDS and separating facts from myths by providing scientific and proven facts about the syndrome.
– Alleviating the stigma that haunts AIDS patients to help them adapt and to give them their given rights to proper health care, treatment, and support.
– Letting the public know that the government provides treatment free of charge to patients as well as counseling and screening centers.
– Helping the public understand that Islamic and Christian men of religion call for endorsing patients and giving them support instead of stigmatizing them.
– Spreading awareness about precautions and preventive measures.

Bloggers from Egypt supporting the initiative include: Ahmed Shokeir, Hany George, Sherif Abdel Aziz, Amro Ezzat, Radwa OsamaMina Zekri, Osama Abdel Aal, Marianne Nagy, Ahmed Zidan, Basma Moussa, Zahraa, Mahmoud Ezzat, Asmaa, Enas Lotfy, Ramez Sharkawy, Randa Abul Dahab, Mona Zidan, Shamie Assad, Abdel Moneim Mahmoud, Ghada Abdel Aal, Marwa Rakha, and many more.

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