One of the things I need to do before going to Egypt is getting an HIV test. Egypt may choose to reject someone access to their country if they are HIV positive; the United States shared Egypt’s policy until just last week.
Several years ago, when I was in Kenya, I did an independent study on the negative social stigma associated with HIV (specifically in Mombasa). In my study I reported on how local forces and stigmas affected the lives of those with HIV and AIDS. However, I did not consider, until now, the institutional forces that directly shape the lives of those with HIV. The (late) United States and Egyptian policies regarding foreign HIV-positive nationals is an example in which governmental institutional forces greatly affecting the lives of those with HIV in an attempts to protect those within its borders.
Consequently, Egypt has a relatively low rate of HIV; an especially stark comparison to its southern Sub-Saharan counterparts. However, according to UNICEF, access to information about the spread, prevention, and treatment of HIV is currently limited. I am interested in discussing with some Egyptian locals on their view of the pandemic, and whether they are concerned with its spread. I also would like to informally compare the attitudes of some medical workers in Egypt to the ones in the U.S..
Recently I talked to one of my good friends who works as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the U.S. medical field. She expressed concern on the changed U.S. policy of allowing people with HIV into the country. She gave me the medical worker’s perspective that working with a large population of under-treated HIV infected people is nightmarish and complex. (Note that we live in the Baltimore-Towson metropolitan area, and that according to Maryland AIDS Administration, “Baltimore-Towson had the fourth highest AIDS case report rate of any major metropolitan area, 29.6 cases per 100,000 population during 2007″…a seemingly valid reason for concern).
There are more people with HIV in Maryland than in the entire country of Egypt.
I look forward to learning more about this subject.