Monday, July 06, 2009

HIV/AIDS: Yemen to protect rights of HIV/AIDS patients

The Yemen Times reports Yemen's Parliament has debated and is soon to vote on a law to protect the rights of patients with HIV/AIDS and reduce discrimination against them.

The proposed law, which was drafted in July 2008 by parliament member Abdul-Bari Dughaish, contains 51 articles that aim to reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

Its articles also guarantee HIV/AIDS victims the right to lead normal lives by prohibiting discrimination against people who are HIV positive seeking accommodation and services.

Dughaish emphasized that people living with HIV/AIDS in Yemen face multiple forms of discrimination and that their rights should be protected.

"The adversary is the disease not the patient, so we must acknowledge the patient's rights," he said.

"If this law is approved it will be an important step towards eradicating misconceptions surrounding the disease,” he added.

During the parliament discussion of the bill, some members said that the parliament could not impose rules on individuals that force them to accept HIV/AIDS patients.

"AIDS is still one of the sensitive issues in Yemen, and some parliament members reflect society's lack of knowledge about the disease,” commented Dughaish. “It’s normal to be afraid of something you ignore, so it’s important to educate society as well as decision makers."

The law would commit the Ministry of Health to educating people about HIV and how to prevent it. The law includes adding information about HIV and AIDS in Yemen's school curriculum.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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