Recommendations For Bill Of Rights For HIV-Positive People

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The Saudi Arabian National Human Rights Society recently published onits Web site recommendations for a patient's bill of rights forHIV-positive people in an effort to encourage the government toestablish a set of regulations to handle HIV/AIDS, the Khaleej Times reports.The recommendations consist of 16 articles and call on the governmentto develop HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns to ensure that people livingwith the disease are treated fairly. They also urge the government toestablish a national AIDS center to collect data on HIV prevalence inthe country.

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The society has suggested a fine of 5,000 Saudiriyals, or about $1,300, and up to three years in prison forindividuals who discriminate against HIV-positive people by firing themor expelling them from schools. The recommendations state thatHIV-positive Saudis should be guaranteed job security unless they havepurposefully attempted to spread the virus. Employers should offeranother position to HIV-positive people whose jobs pose risks to otheremployees, according to the society. If it is not possible to transferthe person to another position, the employer should lay off theHIV-positive person and provide a severance package of two-thirds ofhis or her annual salary, the recommendations state.

Therecommendations were developed at a series of workshops and meetingswith HIV-positive people living in Saudi Arabia and their doctors, NHRSPresident Bandar Al-Hajjar said. "We determined that there must be aclear system that watches out for [HIV-positive people's] rights aswell as their obligations toward society," Al-Hajjar said, adding,"These patients must continue to live their lives normally and receiveproper treatment." The society will seek feedback on therecommendations from NHRS members before submitting a final draft tothe Saudi Ministry of Health, the Times reports (Shaikh, Khaleej Times, 8/3).

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