Bahrain: No Change Seen in Ban on Entry of People With HIV
September 10, 2010
Bahrain is among approximately 31 countries that continue to ban entry by people with HIV and deport expatriates found to be infected with the virus.
Though the country has had a long-standing campaign aimed at increasing HIV awareness and discouraging stigma, many Bahrainis continue to view HIV/AIDS patients as having participated in "un-Islamic" activities, making a change in the immigration policy unlikely.
Somaiya Al Jowder, head of Bahrain's National STD Program, said, "We are aware of the approach of the World Health Organization of linking HIV with human rights principles to avoid discriminating the rights of carriers of the virus. But we cannot do much as current efforts to change the policy will meet strong rejections from the public."
"Most of Bahrainis infected with the virus are keeping their ailment secret from their children and close relatives to avoid being cast away, so accepting foreigners with the ailment wouldn't happen soon," said Al Jowder.
Bahrain also cannot afford the high costs of treating expatriates with HIV, Al Jowder argued. The state presently provides free treatment for HIV-infected Bahrainis, spending $3,700 per patient per month. No private clinic offers HIV treatment.
Inter Press Service
09.06.2010; Suad Hamada
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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