Mubarak's AIDS Legacy: Torture, Deportation and Arrest for HIV-Positive People

Published: February 3, 2011

In Egypt, the victims of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year autocratic rule haven’t just been government dissenters — they’ve also been people living with HIV.

While receiving a hefty amount of U.S. foreign aid, Egypt has conducted mass deportations of HIV-positive foreigners and arrested, tortured and convicted HIV-positive people based on their status.

“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.”

Egypt’s National AIDS Program reports that there were 1,155 people living with HIV/AIDS in Egypt in 2007. UNAIDS, however, put the number much higher — at 5,300 — in 2005.

Between 1986 and 2006, Egypt deported more than 700 foreigners with HIV, nearly all of whom were of African descent. All foreigners who apply for a work or residency visa must test for HIV, and those who test positive are immediately expelled.

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