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HIV/AIDS in Yemen between society review and services weakness HIV/AIDS in Yemen between society review and services weakness
by Abdullah A. Ali Sallam
2012-12-27 11:00:27
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Yemen is the third Middle Eastern state to pass a law to guarantee the rights of people living with HIV, after Djibouti and Sudan. People's rights are guaranteed in the constitution. The law also aims to reduce stigma directed at people living with the virus and to guarantee their right to lead normal lives by prohibiting discrimination against HIV-positive people seeking accommodation and services.  The law guarantees the right of HIV-positive children to attend school and incorporates AIDS education into the school curriculum.

Although this law ensures HIV/AIDS infected people rights but, as a matter of fact, the majority of Yemeni people believe that HIV/AIDS is infectious disease and those infected people are outcast. In addition, people living with HIV/AIDS are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, as HIV remains a highly stigmatized disease.

There are more than 30,000 cases that have HIV/AIDS in Yemen since the appearance of the first case in Aden in 1987.One of the causes is the Somalia refuges and Nightclubs especially in Aden. In Africa, there are more than one Million people suffering from HIV/AIDS, especially prevalent in Somalia. Also, many young men come from Saudi Arabia to spend money in nightclubs and engage in sexual activities. While such activities are criminalized by the Yemeni law, this is not applicable with Saudi men because they have impunity from Yemeni authorities. Interestingly, young Saudi Arabia men help to transfer the disease to their country and spread it within their families without knowing it.

On the other hand, there are many social problems help the HIV spread in Yemen. The first one is the expensive dowries. This is very important issue because it encourages the young search for other ways for enjoyment. The second problem is the low knowledge awareness about HIV disease. Many people think that HIV is infectious. The third important issue is the corruption in the Ministry of Health. Despite many International organizations support the fight against HIV in Yemen, the services provision is still very low. Because of this reason, recently The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria stopped funding support to Yemen.

While there are several initiatives to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and workshops to educate people how to decrease this disease, the stigma on people living with the virus is still following them it means that the activities which applied by NGOs are not creative. Indeed, if these activities and initiatives help to fight HIV/AIDS among Yemeni people but they need to fight the reasons, i.e: expensive dowries, low knowledge awareness about HIV and Corruption in government institutions where upon HIV/AIDS will decrease not increase.

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