If you need further reasons to feel queasy about U.S. support for Egypt's "he wasn't all that bad" dictator, Housing Works has posted a heartbreaking article about the treatment of people living with HIV.
The piece describes a country with complete intolerance for anyone with HIV. If you have it, you don't come in. If you test positive for it (through mandatory, involuntary testing), you're imprisoned. If you're hospitalized with it, don't bother finding the remote. Your hands will be chained to the bed.
Police have blanket authority to intimidate certain populations," said Joe Amon, director of the HIV/AIDS program at Human Rights Watch. "There's a lot of homophobia, and police have targeted the communities, arrested gay men, gone through their address books [and] conducted forceful anal exams.
The incidence of those with HIV is highly underestimated by official reporting, but many of those who test positive are spared the indignities of being abused. If they are foreigners, are simply kicked out of the country. More than 700 at last count.
For those suspected of being gay and of having HIV, you can just imagine the treatment they receive - or not.
In 2007 and 2008, the government launched a crackdown on people living with HIV, arresting at least twelve men suspected of being HIV-positive, calling them a public health threat. Police beat several of them, later subjecting the arrested individuals to anal examinations to "prove" they had engaged in homosexual conduct. Authorities charged them with "habitual debauchery," a term Human Rights Watch says Egypt uses to punish homosexuality, which is not specifically penalized in the country's legal code.
Some were chained to their beds for days in a Cairo hospital. Authorities gave all of the men HIV tests without consent -- those who tested positive were convicted to a maximum of three years in jail. "People like you should be burnt alive," a prosecutor reportedly told one of the men, when informing him that he was HIV-positive. "You do not deserve to live."
The uprising isn't simply a cry for freedom from the general population. It includes people with HIV, for whom their government's abuse is far more deadly than the virus.