March 10, 2008
Reuters on Friday examined how HIV-positive men who have sex with men in Tunisia and other Arab communities often "face a twin taboo." Tunisia has recorded 1,428 HIV cases, and about 70 new cases of the virus are reported annually, according to official figures. HIV/AIDS still is an "invisible disease in north Africa," and many HIV-positive people have "learnt to keep [their] status a tightly guarded secret in a society where fear, prejudice and ignorance about the disease prevail," according to Reuters. "To live in Tunisia, people infected with HIV have to lie and never say they suffer from AIDS," Karim, an HIV-positive MSM who lives in the country, said, adding, "I hate the Tunisian way of thinking. They present themselves as open-minded people and cultured. But it's just a mask" (Ounissi, Reuters, 3/7).
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