An Egyptian court has ruled that a man who infected his wife with HIV without telling her he had the disease pay her one million Egyptian pounds ($64,164) in compensation.
The woman found out she had contracted the disease during routine blood tests while pregnant. Their child has also been infected.
Lawyer Omar Gohar told the state-run Ahram Online that this is the first case of a ruling in which someone has been compensated after being infected with HIV.
Despite a government strategy for the prevention and treatment of HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, Egyptians with HIV are heavily discriminated against and fear losing their jobs, homes and being disowned by their families.
Between October 2007 and April 2008 at least 12 men were arrested in Egypt on suspicion of being HIV positive and subjected to forcible HIV tests.
If they tested positive, they were chained to their beds.
One-hundred-and-seventeen health and human rights organisations condemned the crackdown, and the participation of medical personnel.
Amnesty and Human Rights Watch said doctors helped interrogate the men, a breach of the oath they took to respect patients’ privacy when they entered the medical profession.
In August last year an Egyptian man was forcibly removed from hospital in Egypt after staff found out he had AIDS.
Photos circulated online of the patient at Kafr Al-Zayat Hospital in Gharbia Governorate being dragged out by his arms and legs by staff wearing gloves.
Several patients have reported being turned away by doctors and dentists after disclosing they have AIDS, which creates a social stigma which encourages people not to disclose their illness or to seek treatment.
Unicef has said there are gaps in prevention, care and support.
In 2017 a mother with AIDS jumped from the fifth floor of her apartment block after her neighbours asked her to leave her home after discovering she had contracted the disease.
The UN has “voiced alarm” over the spread of HIV in Egypt, estimating that there were 11,000 cases in the country at the end of 2016 with a 25-30 per cent increase in cases every year.
Egypt comes in behind Iran, Sudan and Somalia in the Middle East in terms of the rate at which HIV is spreading.
The Egyptian government continues to underestimate the number of cases each year, putting the figure closer to 7,000.