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A double dose of HIV stigma #HIV #AIDS

A double dose of HIV stigma #HIV #AIDS

It’s not even worth making separate posts out of, but just the same they are remarkable enough to bring to light.


An elderly woman who decided that she needed a career in bank robbing didn’t pack a pistol.  She told the unsuspecting teller that she’d infect her with HIV if she didn’t comply:

DENVER (Reuters) – A woman robbed a Colorado bank by passing a note saying she would infect a teller with AIDS if the clerk didn’t hand over money, police said on Friday.

Jeff Satur, spokesman for the Longmont, Colorado police department, said detectives are searching for a pale woman between the ages of 55 and 75 with a “boney build.”

Satur said a woman, who was wearing a train conductor’s cap and a gray sweat shirt, walked into a Wells Fargo bank inside a Safeway grocery store on Thursday night and handed a note to a teller.

“She indicated she had AIDS and would give it to a teller if she didn’t cooperate,” Satur said.

The woman coughed frequently into a blue bandana during the robbery, and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, Satur said.

Police and the FBI released still photographs of the robbery and are reviewing additional photographs and surveillance video from the bank’s parking lot to try and identify the suspect.

She is described as about 5-feet 6 inches tall, and weighing between 130 and 150 pounds.

No weapon was displayed during the robbery and no one was injured, police said.

Magid, of Alexandria, Egypt is tired of being silent.  He’s the first known person to publicly admit they were HIV positive – in the entire country:

Diagnosed three years ago with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, Magid, a resident of Alexandria, Egypt, kept his health status a secret from most, opting to tell only a handful of friends and family members weeks after he discovered he had been infected.

But he chose June of 2011 as the month in which he would shed his relative anonymity in Egypt and speak out as a voice for people living with the virus.

“Last week, I broke the silence by becoming the first Egyptian to speak out about AIDS,” he tells Al Jazeera, days after his appearance at a press conference organised by the Forum to Fight Stigma and Discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS in Egypt.

“I was scared. But Egypt [was] in urgent need for someone to do that, because people with HIV are suffering from stigma and discrimination. Policy makers, health workers – they consider us criminals. They say ‘there is no HIV in Egypt, we are a country of religion, of tradition, of good behaviour’. But they are in denial.”

Slim, soft-spoken and admittedly shy, Magid (who declined to give his last name) is one of an estimated 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS across the world, with about 11,000 estimated cases in Egypt. Of those, the UN estimates only 400 are seeking treatment in Egypt.

If you need any more proof of the monumental work that needs to be done to combat/reduce/eliminate HIV stigma around the world look no further.


(thumbnail credit to Al Jazeera, linked above)


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  1. Much kudos to the Egyptian guy for doing that – he must be very, very brave. So sad that he is the first to speak out about it in the entire country. I was thinking about this kind of thing earlier. Different country, but I see a lot of reports coming out of India which show a very high level of discrimination, fear and stigma re. HIV. Healthcare workers refusing to treat HIV positive patients, etc.

    Re. the elderly bank robber. Wow, just wow. :O

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    • Agreed. It’s mind-boggling to me that he’s the first person in the country to “come out” and this is 2011 but having lived in the middle east for years I know that the discrimination and stigma is very, very common.

      As much as I rally for removing stigma in the US, it’s very obvious with stories like this that we could certainly have it worse.

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