HIV/AIDS is NOT A CRIME!
Statement issued on behalf of the LANA network
Decree: 2638 – Date: 17/12/2015
In accordance to the statement issued on behalf of the General Directorate of State Security- Division of media and public relations on 30th October 2018, the LANA network and its allies who hold a history in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in Lebanon for over 30 years strongly condemn the issued statement and considers what was reported inappropriate for several reasons:
- Living with HIV/AIDS is not a crime or felony but is a chronic health condition that requires people living with HIV to take treatment and adhere to it and does not incur imprisonment.
- The virus is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse with a person carrying the virus and through exposure to blood contaminated with the virus.
- Communicating or working with a person living with HIV/AIDS doesn’t endanger other people’s lives and stating otherwise indicates lack of knowledge and misconceptions which should be rectified with correct scientific information about the virus.
- Sharing scientific information should come from an authentic source and available at the Ministry of Public Health and the National AIDS Program and universities and through specialized doctors and organizations and the LANA network as well as social media platforms.
- Living with HIV/AIDS doesn’t hinder people from working or leading a normal life. International guidelines emphasize the necessity of moving on with their lives and their occupations like everyone else.
- There is no law or text prohibiting people living with HIV/AIDS to practice any profession. The use of tattoo equipment is personal and is not used again. Tattooing does not require the person to undergo general anesthesia which causes unconsciousness. The person remains fully aware and conscious throughout the tattoo process.
- People living with HIV/AIDS contribute in the national income and have experience in different sectors. It is prohibited to deny them their practice. By spreading terror and fear of the virus, the statement issued on behalf of the General Directorate of State Security- Division of media and public relations is driving people living with HIV to become a social and economical burden.
The Ministry of Public Health through its National AIDS Program provides the treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS free of charge; and treats them as citizens in need of chronic treatment.
- The HIV/AIDS infection weakens the immune system and does not cause mental health disorders.
- Raising awareness about HIV/AIDS is a must and represents one of the major activities instigated by many civil society organizations and concerned ministries, especially the Ministry of Public Health and the National AIDS Program in Lebanon. Prevention doesn’t entail chasing people living with HIV/AIDS and shamefully imprisoning them as a preventive measure or isolating them but rather prevention is conducted through spreading accurate information on HIV modes of transmission and encouraging individuals to adhere to prevention.
Based on the above, we as LANA (Lebanese AIDS Network Association) network find that the handling of this case is not related to science or to human rights or to the laws in any way, but it is rather a discriminatory act which consecrates stereotyping and stigmatization portraying HIV/AIDS as a terrifying disease and it alters the nature of the virus in a deplorable and outrageous mode from a virus causing a deficiency in the immune system of its carrier to a national issue threatening the national and social security in Lebanon.