Target: President of Yemen, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
Goal: Prohibit denying care to HIV-positive patients
People living with HIV and AIDS are systematically denied treatment within Yemen’s health care system. In a revealing report by Human Rights Watch, hundreds of HIV positive and AIDS patients recalled harrowing stories of being discriminated against because of their status: from being charged inflated prices for essential medications to being kicked out of hospitals by health care workers.
Surprisingly though, this kind of behavior is somewhat commonplace, especially at public health facilities. An HIV-positive woman revealed to Human Rights Watch that she was forced to leave a clinic while she was in labor after health care officials learned of her HIV-positive status. And, another woman, suffering from seizures, was denied treatment by a doctor at a state-run hospital in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. The doctor also demanded that her husband be arrested for withholding information regarding her HIV-positive status. He later disclosed to Human Rights Watch that he was simply trying to save his wife’s life.
Because of difficulties getting treatment at state-run healthcare facilities, people living with HIV or AIDS frequently seek care at private facilities. But, the prejudice is just as rampant here, too. Patients are often charged double, even triple the normal cost of medications. And, some doctors continually turn HIV-positive patients away by saying they don’t have the means necessary to treat them. Ahmed Al-Garati, a doctor who happens to treat HIV individuals, told Human Rights Watch that “…employees…[have]…the necessary safety equipment, so this has nothing to do with risk. It is pure discrimination.”
The right to the highest attainable standard of health is mandatory under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, or ICESCR, which Yemen allegedly ratified in 1987. And, a 2009 law, mandated by Yemen’s government, also makes it illegal for health workers to discriminate against people with HIV. With approximately 6,000 people living with HIV or AIDS in Yemen in 2013, its horrifying to know that many of them continue to be denied care or treatment simply because of ignorance.
Sign the petition to urge Yemen’s government to establish stricter legislations that make it illegal do deny health care to HIV and AIDS patients.
Dear President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi,
It has recently come to my attention that doctors and health care workers are denying health care to HIV and AIDS patients, despite Yemen’s 6,000+ HIV/AIDS population and the fact that it mandated a law in 2009 making it illegal to do so. Kicking sick people out of a hospital because they have HIV isn’t just prejudiced, it’s absolutely cruel.
Yemen’s hospitals are adequately equipped with the proper technologies and facilities to treat HIV/AIDS patients, and yet they are still vehemently turned away. Healthcare workers and doctors are also trained extensively on how to treat and care for HIV/AIDS patients, so why are so many of them adamantly refusing to help these patients?
No one living with HIV or AIDS should feel embarrassed about their status. And none of them should needlessly suffer at public or private facilities that cruelly choose to discriminate against them. I urge you to enforce stricter legislation aimed at making treatment and care easily accessible to those living with HIV or AIDS. I also encourage you to impose stringent consequences against health care workers and doctors who refuse to help HIV/AIDS patients.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: anitapatterson via everystockphoto