Outrage after Egypt hospital staff deny AIDS patient treatment
Egyptians have reacted furiously after images of an AIDS patient being violently dragged out of a hospital in the town of Kafr El-Zayat, 110 kilometres north of Cairo, spread on social media.
Pictures and video circulated showed an unidentified man being carried out of the hospital on Tuesday by two members of staff, who held his arms and legs.
Hospital staff said that the patient was a drug addict, who refused to go to a nearby military “fever hospital” when instructed to by doctors. News that an AIDS patient was present caused panic among the other patients, who feared they may become infected, staff alleged.
The HIV virus which causes AIDS is very difficult to transmit, and infection usually takes place only through sexual contact, the sharing of syringes, or transfusion of infected blood. Egypt has a low – but increasing - rate of HIV prevalence. 11,000 people lived with the virus in 2016.
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There is a lot of stigma attached to AIDS in the country due to socially conservative attitudes and ignorance of the disease and how it is spread. However, many Egyptians and other Arabs spoke out against the patient’s treatment on social media.
One Twitter user said: “You’ve deprived this AIDS patient of his humanity. Fear God in the way you treat people. If the hospital won’t let him in, where is he going to go?”
Khaled El-Ghamidi tweeted, “In backward societies with crippled thinking people think that anyone afflicted with AIDS has engaged in forbidden relations.”
Rahma Salman tweeted, “This hospital should be held to account for what it did. Instead of giving treatment to an ill person whatever his illness in a civilised and professional way, it threw him out like this. Who allowed the doctors and officials to behave like this?”
After the patient was thrown out of the hospital, he was transported to the “fever hospital” by a tuk-tuk auto-rickshaw, according to hospital staff.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health said in a statement that a full investigation would be launched into the incident.
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