New York Times Profiles Iraqi HIV/AIDS Patients During, After Saddam Hussein’s Rule
The New York Times on Friday examined the challenges HIV-positive Iraqi people faced during Saddam Hussein's rule and the new problems they face now that he is no longer in power in Iraq. In the mid-1980s, approximately 244 Iraqis were infected with HIV by contaminated blood products shipped from France. Hussein's government responded to these first HIV/AIDS cases by quarantining hemophiliacs and their families in hospitals. "They didn't treat them like sick people," the mother of an HIV-positive hemophiliac said, adding, "They treated them like criminals, very dangerous criminals." In 1991, Hussein granted HIV/AIDS patients an "amnesty," but HIV-positive people were still not allowed to marry or hold jobs under his government, according to the Times. With Hussein's ouster, HIV-positive people are "hoping" for more tolerance, better treatment and perhaps compensation from the French blood bank that provided the HIV-infected blood in the 1980s; however, HIV-positive people are not overly optimistic, the Times reports. In addition, health officials are "bracing" for an increase in the number of HIV infections in Iraq now that HIV-positive people no longer are isolated and under "strict controls," according to the Times (Fisher, New York Times, 10/24). The complete article is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.