See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Saudi Arabia: AIDS treatment takes step backward

The Saudi government reported that in 2008 the number of AIDS patients in Saudi Arabia was 13,926 with 3,538 Saudis. An estimated 505 were Saudi females and 769 non-Saudi women.

The Saudi government reported that in 2008 the number of AIDS patients in Saudi Arabia was 13,926 with 3,538 Saudis. An estimated 505 were Saudi females and 769 non-Saudi women.

The subject of AIDS/HIV has always been a taboo in Saudi Arabia, where the debate is raging over the treatment of patients like criminals. Recently, Saudi Arabia announced its plans to shut down a volunteer clinic in Jeddah’s King Saud Hospital that is known for providing medical services, counseling and privacy to AIDS victims. Bloggers lash out at the move saying it is a step backward.

Wafa, who attended a workshop held by a Saudi organization fighting discrimination against AIDS patients, wrote:

I know for a fact that lots of people here still think that being an aids patients is your fault, and that you must have got it through sexual relationship. A few people know the difference between Aids and HIV. A lot of aids patients are being stained with shame and people look down on them. We really need to spread the word for a better knowledge of the disease and stop the discrimination against aids patients.

Wafa further explained how the whole society is not welcoming to help the patients, with even the religious leaders increasing the problem due to their ignorance about the causes of the disease:

The problem happens in the whole society. When the First and only Saudi organization for aids started its work, it was faced by ignoring from almost everyone thus it has no financial resources, society feared that acknowledging the organization is the first step to accept the existing of AIDS in Saudi Arabia, mostly because it is still believed that the cause of it is sexual relationships.
Religious leaders also denounce the organization saying that it is working in a westerns manner by accepting illegal sexual relationships and asking for money to help with its consequence.

Another Saudi blogger Sabria S. Jawhar, an IPhD Student in the UK, mentioned that although times have changed, but the most important rule for victims stayed the same. They have to keep the disease a secret from friends, acquaintances and even family. She then explained the new problem facing patients, in regards to shutting down the clinic in Jeddah’s King Saud Hospital:

Now, it’s scheduled to be shut down and its AIDS patients distributed all over the Kingdom for treatment. It appears that just when Saudi Arabia achieves parity in treating AIDS sufferers with the rest of the world, as it has with its organ transplant policies and with its specialization in separating conjoined twins, it takes a step backward.

The closure of AIDS services at King Saud threatens the privacy and consistent treatment of patients. It also increases the likelihood of spreading the disease because the trust built by King Saud doctors, nurses and support staff must be rebuilt with strangers at another medical facility. This is not an easy task.


The transfer of patients also begs the question of what will other medical centers do with them. Will these patients be grouped with non-AIDS patients or be treated in a specialty ward? Will their privacy be protected?

And, unlike any other society, AIDS patients need special treatment, and high level of privacy, as Sabria continued to explain:

The emotional bond among hospital employees was strong. A trust existed between the patient and employee. Unlike many Western AIDS patients who don’t hide their illness, Saudis insist on it because it means being judged by one’s family and friends. The trust between patient and hospital employee meant their secret was safe.

One AIDS patient said recently of King Saud Hospital: “When we go there we feel like we are treated like human beings. I know people will listen to me. But I don’t tell anyone else.”

That secret is now at risk as these patients are shuttled to different facilities. Ensuring proper treatment and taking precautions to prevent AIDS from spreading is now at risk.

One of the commentators on Wafa‘s post, Angie Nader, pitied these patients and said:

Even there is so much talk about aids throughout the world…it still is here..we have to do whatever we can as human people to make this disease stop. And those who are suffering from eaither…we need to show them respect and let them live with dignity.

Adding my voice to Angie, I wonder if something will be better done to help these suffering patients..

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Global Voices Online » Saudi Arabia: AIDS treatment takes step backward --

  • Rev Alex

    I am miss JUDITH from USA, i never believe that HIV AID cure is real on till i got in contact with Dr Amin Hamza, my HIV started six years ago, i was even waiting for death because all my money went out for drugs, which keep me till today, one day i saw in the internet that HIV cure is out i then email Dr Amin Hamza, and he prepared out the herb drug for me which i took, after taking it he told me to go to the hospital which i did, could you believe that i was confirm HIV negative after the test and i went to another hospital and it was also negative as the same. if you have this kind of problem and you want to be free from it please contact this doctor with this email address, he is the best HIV cure you will find in the whole world. thank you Dr Amin Hamza am free now.

  • anonymous5555

    Good morning to you all I want to drop a testimony about a power full man his name is doctor Agbadi the man that cure me and my wife from hiv I was tested hiv positive 3year age and my wife was already affected by me will decide to look for treatment for the hiv,I really need cure to the virus god help me with man called Agbadi the man that cure any disease I see blog post about his good work I pick his email and number I call him to confirm if what I saw is true the man explain everything about it to me and also tell me what do and the thing I will bring before the cure can take place well he list out the thingsI needed for my cure I do according to what he said and he told me that he will call me back after if he done with cure and he did after everything I went for hiv test I was negative and my wife too what a miracle! thanks doctor, you can reach him now on his email or visit his website on

  • anonymous5555

    my name is Anita, i was diagnosed with HIV in 2012, and since then my life have never remained the same. I even infected my husband with the virus, until i meant a testimony from a woman about a man called doctor Agbadi. I contacted him and told me about my problem, he told me that i will need to do some things which i did, and after he finished every thing, he told me that i will take the medication for 3 weeks which i did and 4 days ago i went for a test and surprisingly i am now HIV negative, he is also preparing another for my husband, if you need help about this deadly virus contact doctor Agbadi via: or visit his website on

  • anonymous5555

    Hi friends, am from Switzerland, I want to share a testimony on how a spell caster (DR.Agbadi) helped me in getting rid of my HIV disease, I was diagnosed of this deadly disease in the year 2010, ever since I was not myself, I thought I lost everything, I was in pain, one faithful day I was searching through the internet people in getting rid of their deadly disease, I contacted him, he gave me a form to fill, I filled it, he asked me to buy me some items, I couldn’t find the items but he told me that he can buy them for me, I sent him the money for the items, he bought the items and casted the spell, he then asked me to go for medical check-up which I did, friends I didn’t believe what I saw, I was tested HIV negative, friends am still in shock, I promised to tell the world about him, you can get your healings today, you can email him on or visit his website on

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site