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HIV and gay in Egypt in need of help
Sep 22, 2012

Hi, I am from Egypt (homosexual and HIV positive). I was living in Saudi Arabia for 5 years from 2007 to 2011 and I got HIV infected there in an incident of sexual assault. I was not able to present a complaint to the police because Saudi is an Islamic country and they punish all homosexuals. After six months I went to the hospital to check and they told that I was HIV positive and they warned me that I should leave the country before they informed the ministry of health. I left my money, my work, my clothes and my car and came back to Egypt again to face my fate with my family and community. The problem which I face here in Egypt is that my family and the community have not accepted me as a homosexual or my HIV status. I can't work in Egypt because they ask me for a medical report. Please help me to live, to feel that I am human. Now I've been in Egypt for 7 months and my CD4 declined from 800 to 600. I got to know a person in one of the psychosocial support groups who is in the same situation and he became my boyfriend. He was expelled from the house because he is sick and gay and recently when his mother died he was prevented from attending the funeral. I called his older brother and his father and I pressed and they approved that he attend the funeral for 15 minutes . I'm still moving from job to job, afraid of discovery about my disease. I've sent many messages to human rights organizations all over the world and all the response I get is that they cannot help me if I am out their country. I tried to get a visa for the UK but they refused my request. I have another lovely kind man in Spain who tried to help me and my boy friend to get out of Egypt. One of the reasons I want to get out is because of medication which is not available on an ongoing basis. I saw with my own eyes with my friend whose CD4 was 50. He received a full dose in the first full month but in the second they apologized to us and said there was no medicine. We asked our friends in support groups to donate a part of their medicine to my boy friend. Please if you have any chance to help us, please do it. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thank you for writing. I am sorry to hear about your difficult situation. Below is some public information relating to your inquiries, but please be very aware that this is not a recommendation by any means.

Many countries in Europe will settle refugees with medical conditions such as HIV through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). In order to qualify, a person must apply outside their country of origin and, most important, have a well-grounded fear of persecution in their country of origin based on factors including sexual orientation. Refugees with medical conditions get priority for resettlement. It is important to document that one is not simply seeking a better life but escaping a situation of death.

Once in a country with a UNHCR, a person can request an interview to seek the status of refugee. Proof of medical status and incidents that prove a history of persecution due to sexual orientation is required. Some countries have non-governmental organizations that provide assistance to persons seeking refugee status. The UNHCR is obligated to provide medical services while the case is pending.

It is important to get legal advice as soon as possible once in another country. Lebanon is known to be more tolerant of homosexuality, which makes it a preferred destination for LGBT refugees. Egyptians can enter Lebanon with relative ease. Here are some legal aid organizations in Lebanon that provide assistance:

1- Frontiers Ruwad Association www.frontiersruwad.org Badaro Street, Fawaz Bldg, 7th Floor, P.O. BOX 13-6299, Beirut, Lebanon Tel/Fax: +961 1 389 556 Mobile: +961 3 457 324

2- Centre Libanais des Droits Humains (CLDH) http://www.solida.org/ Immeuble Bakhos, 1er étage,Rue Mar Youssef, Dora, Beirut Liban Tel/Fax : +961 01 24 00 23

Nothing is guaranteed, so it is extremely important that you carefully determine for yourself whether or not life in Egypt is acceptable for you. Remember, no one else can make any recommendations for you - what is provided here is simply public information.

I wish you good luck.



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