السبت، 7 يناير، 2017

Proud Brit gay pop icons who ruled in the 80s

George Michael, Freddie Mercury & Elton John: How They Ruled the '80s British Pop Empire

The Live Aid concert at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985, was, among other things, a time capsule of British pop at its imperial peak. It fell during a heady era when the entire bill could be British (or, in the case of U2 and Bob Geldof, Irish) without seeming parochial.
The evening’s lineup featured three rejuvenated giants of the 1970s -- David Bowie, Elton John and Queen -- and, for one song only, a young gun who had absorbed lessons from them all. Midway through John’s set, the singer introduced George Michael, “this guy I admire very much,” and let him run away with “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” 
Michael was modeling the riff on young American manhood that he would make iconic with 1987’s Faith -- blue jeans, black leather jacket, sunglasses, stubble -- while Andrew Ridgeley, his junior partner in Wham!, already looked dispensable. Unfairly tagged as good-time lightweights, Wham! had everything but credibility, and Michael’s performance made it clear that the 22-year-old was hungry to correct that. Before Faith, before even his duet with Aretha Franklin (also in 1987), Michael was overtly aligning himself with the greats, and he began with John. 
“George was nervous as hell. The feeling was, could he deliver in this company?” says Bernard Doherty, the publicist for Live Aid. “Backstage they were laughing and joking: two local lads who came from down the road.” At that point, Michael, John and Freddie Mercury constituted an MTV-enabled troika of British megastars roughly-equivalent to the American triumvirate of PrinceMadonna and Michael Jackson.
Michael was a generation younger than John and Mercury, but he felt older than his years and bigger than the ’80s zeitgeist. “I’ve always felt that my talents were very traditional. I didn’t feel I was tied to youth culture,” he told me in 2004. Of his contemporaries, he added: “I always believed I would outlast everyone, with the possible exception of Madonna.”
Like his British heroes-turned-peers, Michael was a closeted gay man from the London suburbs whose voracious ambition was that of the conflicted outsider storming the citadel. Also like them, he was a versatile populist with a big-picture understanding of pop, a gift for universal melodies and a supernova showmanship that extended all the way to the cheap seats. For Michael, the success of the more flamboyant Mercury and John in the straight world was inspirational. 

This was the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era of pop, when stars scrambled norms of gender and sexuality in a way that bypassed homophobia while hitting a demographic sweet spot that excluded no one. “They acted out fantasies on behalf of their audience, but it was unthreatening, in the realm of make-believe rather than the truth of their sexuality,” says Martin Aston, author of Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out.
Michael made his affinity with his forerunners explicit in 1992, when “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” recorded live with John, became his last No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Performing the song in Las Vegas three days after Michael’s death, an emotional John said: “I only wish George was here to sing it with me.”) Also in ’92, Michael gave a bravura rendition of “Somebody to Love” with the surviving members of Queen at the Mercury tribute concert. “It was probably the proudest moment of my career because it was me living out a childhood fantasy,” he said later.
Two things set Michael apart from his elders. One was his readiness for stardom: He wrote “Careless Whisper” when he was just 17 and waited three years until the time was right to unveil it. The other was his auteurdom: He was his own songwriter, producer, arranger, image-maker and strategist. Faith mastered and tweaked American forms for maximum pleasure, from the brisk rockabilly of the title track to the erotic manifesto “I Want Your Sex (Parts I and II),” from the deep soul balladry of “One More Try” to the sexual-spiritual alloy of “Father Figure.” This was something-for-everyone pop born of generosity rather than calculation, and it was irresistible. En route to winning a Grammy for album of the year, Faith produced four No. 1s on the Hot 100 and topped the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks. A young British solo artist wouldn’t reach that position again until Adele did 24 years later.
It was not for want of trying. Robbie Williams, the straightest camp man in ’90s British pop, modeled himself on Michael, but he was one of many British exports whose appeal didn’t translate to America. Michael appeared to have blazed a trail, but it was one that only he could travel down. “I’ve seen people aspiring to be me for the last 20 years,” he said in 2004, “and what they normally don’t understand is that to be me you’ve got to do the whole process.”
That was part of it — but the industry changed, too. Pop’s monoculture splintered into hip-hop, R&B, grunge and country, often reasserting traditional gender roles in the process, and saw off the kind of ecumenical megastar who straddled genres and demographics, especially the British variety. Just a few years after Live Aid’s summit meeting, the sun had set on British pop’s imperial phase, making Faith both its zenith and its last hurrah.

الاثنين، 26 ديسمبر، 2016

R.I.P, one of the greatest legends of pop music and a yet another gay icon passes away ...gone to soon!


George Michael was a defiant gay icon. His life must not be sanitised

The popstar’s openness about his sex life, and his campaigning for LGBT rights, offered a liferaft to many – particularly at a time when anti-gay sentiment was rife

More than 18 years ago, George Michael was famously outed for a “lewd act” in a Beverly Hills toilet – and promptly humiliated by institutionally homophobic newspapers. Some might have been consumed with shame and grovelled before a tabloid press that had assumed the position of hypocritical moralisers once occupied by the medieval church. Instead, Michael penned the biggest “fuck you” in musical history: Outside, a song that unapologetically flaunted his human sexual appetite, and declared war on the hypocrisy of others. Sex was natural, the song said; it was the attitudes to it that were not: “There’s nothing here but flesh and bone.”
No sanitising or erasing who Michael was. He was a gay man, a gay icon, and being gay was central to his identity and his music. Like many gay men, coming to terms with his sexuality was a fraught process: he thought he loved women and only accepted he was gay in his mid-20s, still years before he told his parents. Some are saying: why wait until he was 35 to come out, and only under duress?
Coming out wildly differs from person to person: it is an experience imposed upon gay men – and all LGBT people – by a society still far from entirely accepting us. For a superstar back in the 1990s, it was considerably harder than it was today. According to the British Social Attitudes survey, in the year Michael came out half of all Britons thought same-sex relations were always or mostly wrong (nearly four in 10 said “always”), while only 23% opted for “not wrong at all”. From section 28 (only a decade old) to a different age of consent, the anti-gay laws were still in place.
Coming out should not be some sort of duty for public figures: it is a highly personal experience, and life is complicated. But, undoubtedly, Michael coming out offered a liferaft to so many LGBT people – not just gay men – struggling in a society that judged them and made them internalise shame. It is difficult to describe how lonely this experience is. But here was a household name: the girls at school – and their mums – fancied him.
Yes, it’s true that the manner in which he was outed became a standard playground homophobic trope, a means for bigots to express their revulsion at how sordid and morally corrupt they deemed gay men to be. But haters gonna hate, as the expression goes – homophobes will latch on to anything to confirm their bigoted narrative. For LGBT people consumed with terror at the realisation of who they were, to see the man who sang Last Christmas telling his tormentors where to stick it was liberating.
In the 1980s and much of the 1990s, gay men were dying in their thousands from HIV/AIDS. Much of society alternated between pity, disgust and a sense of “they’ve brought it on themselves” as they perished. Michael was among those who watched his lover, Anselmo Feleppa, tortured and killed by the illness. His No 1 1996 hit, Jesus to a Child, was about this terrible loss, underlining how his sexuality and his music cannot, and must not, be divorced.
Being gay and out is one thing, but often it is on the terms of a disapproving society. As long as you are sanitised and, preferably, sexless in appearance, you can gain acceptance – or so the unspoken pact goes. While once bigots persecuted gays, as Matthew Parris noted, now “they haven’t stopped hating, and their new cry is this: ‘Why don’t you just shut up about it? Who asked what you get up to in bed, anyway? Your private life is your affair but please stop ramming it down our throat [snigger, snigger]’ …”
Michael rejected the unspoken pact. He had an open relationship. He loved anonymous sex. “You only have to turn on the television to see the whole of British society being comforted by gay men who are so clearly gay and so obviously sexually unthreatening,” he told the Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone in 2005. “Gay people in the media are doing what makes straight people comfortable, and automatically my response to that is to say I’m a dirty filthy fucker and if you can’t deal with it, you can’t deal with it.” Or as he put it rather enthusiastically on Twitter: “I have never and will never apologise for my sex life! Gay sex is natural, gay sex is good! Not everybody does it, but … ha ha!”
Here was a man who proudly campaigned for LGBT rights, becoming a high-profile supporter of HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust. He was profoundly political in many other ways, too, backing Labour through the trauma of Thatcherism and backing Britain’s striking miners. He put on a free concert for NHS nurses to say thank you for looking after his dying mum. In 2003, he reworked Faith alongside Ms Dynamite into an anti-Iraq war track, and even released a single – Shoot the Dog – that castigated Tony Blair’s alliance with George W Bush and the neocons.
I can already here the cries: “Stop politicising him!” It is the cry of people who want to erase the aspects of those they admire that contradict their own worldview. But when people die, we have a responsibility to remember who they actually were, not a sanitised and false version that is palatable to some.
We live in an age where bigots are newly emboldened. They treat supporters of anti-racism, feminism and LGBT rights like this: “You’ve had your party, now it’s over, and it’s our turn.” It is tempting to turn and retreat. But, as a closeted teenager back in 1998, it is impossible not to recall the courage and defiance of George Michael. A talented and much adored musician, yes. But also a gay man, and a gay icon, who made the lives of so many LGBT people that little bit easier.

الاثنين، 17 أكتوبر، 2016


Easier said than done!

The UN body needs to find mechanisms to enforce or obligate the member States to implement its resolutions related to LGBT rights! Most of the Arab and Muslim countries do not comply with the resolutions and go along way in their violations and targeting of the LGBTIQ community!


The report says that LGBT people face “violent abuse... and discrimination” in all regions.

A new United Nations (UN) report has called for laws criminalising consensual same-sex sexual activity to be repealed around the world.
In the new report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein has said that LGBT people are victims of “pervasive violent abuse, harassment and discrimination” in all regions of the world, citing hundreds of hate-related killings, the Guardian reports.
Mr al-Hussein added that, while progress has been made since the UN’s historic first report into the rights LGBT people globally in 2011, the gains had been overshadowed by continued state-sponsored persecution and attacks made against them.
It states that in 2012 alone, 310 documented murders occured in Brazil “in which homophobia or transphobia was a motive”, while the trans murder monitoring project listed 1,612 murders in 62 countries between 2008 and 2014.
According to the report, at least 76 countries retain anti-gay laws used to criminalise and persecute people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
The report made 24 recommendations, calling for all state worldwide to decriminalise consenting same-sex activity between adults, ban ‘gay cure’ therapy and the forced sterilization of trans people, and to enact legisaltion to protect LGBT people from hate speech and discrimination.
It also called on states to give legal recognition to same-sex couples and their children  -implying, but not stating, equal marriage – as well as providing age-appropriate sex education to all, guaranteeing asylum for any LGBTI people whose lives may be in danger due to their sexuality, and ending forced genital and anal examinations to ‘prove’ whether someone is LGBT.

الأربعاء، 12 أكتوبر، 2016

Telegraph: Final appeal set for Pakistani Christian woman facing execution for blasphemy

This is horrendous and sad. Support is needed to help save the woman!

Final appeal set for Pakistani Christian woman facing execution for blasphemy

AChristian woman facing execution for blasphemy in Pakistan has been granted her final chance to appeal next week, after the country’s supreme court set a date for Asia Bibi’s last hearing.
In a case that has gained international infamy, the mother-of-five from rural Punjab was convicted in 2010 for defaming the Prophet Mohammad during an argument with a group of Muslim women over a bowl of water. She has been on death row ever since.
Appeals at lower courts have all failed, before the country's top court temporarily suspended her execution in July 2015.
If Pakistan’s supreme court does not overturn her sentence following arguments heard in Islamabad next Thursday, Mrs Bibi will become the first person to ever be hanged under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.
At least 20 people charged with blasphemy in Pakistan have been murdered, some by their own prison guards, and many more have gone into hiding.
Mrs Bibi’s plight has divided Pakistan, pitting its hardline clerics and their supporters against liberal reformers, and exposing deep fractures in the highly conservative Muslim state.
Several Muslim women refused to drink from the bowl because they believed it had been made “unclean” by the Christian’s touch.
Five days later, an imam who was not present during the argument accused her of defaming the prophet. Despite insisting she was being persecuted for her faith in a country where Christians face routine harassment and discrimination, Mrs Bibi was sentenced to be hanged the following year.
Two politicians who took up Mrs Bibi’s cause were murdered in 2011. When one of the assassins, Mumtaz Qadri, was himself hanged earlier this year, tens of thousands rallied in Islamabad to proclaim him a hero and a martyr.
Saif-ul Mulook, Mrs Bibi’s lawyer, told The Telegraph that his client had never received a fair trial. The charges against her were the result of a “personal vendetta” between her and the complainant, he said.
Mrs Bibi's family were the only Christians in the village. Of the seven witnesses in the case, five are men who were also not present when the row took place.
Mrs Bibi’s husband Ashiq Mashih and five children have lived in hiding for the past six years.
"I have great hopes in the supreme court and I am very hopeful that justice will done for my wife,” said Mr Mashih, speaking from an undisclosed location on Friday. “She has been living a miserable life in jail for many years. I want justice for the mother of my five children.”
“The complainant and witnesses were biased and the complaint was registered on personal motives,” said Mr Mulook.
If the appeal fails, Mrs Bibi’s final hope is a pardon from Mamnoon Hussain, the president of Pakistan. But the fundamentalist clerics who wish to see Mrs Bibi executed wield considerable influence in Pakistan, and few politicians dare to openly defy them.
Activists say Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often used to persecute or settle private vendettas against the country’s three million Christians.
While nobody has yet been executed for insulting the Koran or the Prophet - most are acquitted on appeal - mere accusation is enough to destroy many Christians’ lives.
Mr Mulook’s home in Lahore is under police guard following threats to his life.

الثلاثاء، 4 أكتوبر، 2016

Great News: HIV cure close after disease 'vanishes' from blood of British man

A case has been cured, hope this brings more potential for a HIV therapy!

 A British man could become the first person in the world to be cured of HIV using a new therapy designed by a team of scientists from five UK universities.
The 44-year-old is one of 50 people currently trialing
 a treatment which targets the disease even in its dormant state.
Scientists told The Sunday Times that presently the virus is completely undetectable in the man’s blood, although that could be a result of regular drugs. However if the dormant cells are also cleared out it could represent the first complete cure. Trial results are expected to be published in 2018.
"This is one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV,” said Mark Samuels, managing director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure.
“We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV. This is a huge challenge and it's still early days but the progress has been remarkable."
The trial is being undertaken by researchers from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London and King's College London.

HIV is so difficult to treat because it targets the immune system, splicing itself into the DNA of T-cells so that they not only ignore the disease, but turn into viral factories which reproduce the virus.

Current treatments, called anti-retroviral therapies (Art), target that process but they cannot spot dormant infected T-cells.  

The new therapy works in two stages. Firstly, a vaccine helps the body recognise the HIV-infected cells so it can clear them out. Secondly, a new drug called Vorinostat activates the dormant T-cells so they can be spotted by the immune system.

More than 100,000 people in Britain are living with HIV, around 17 per cent of whom do not know they have the disease, and 37 million are infected worldwide.

The first unidentified patient, a social care worker in London, said: "It would be great if a cure has happened. My last blood test was a couple of weeks ago and there is no detectable virus.

"I took part in the trial to help others as well as myself. It would be a massive achievement if, after all these years, something is found to cure people of this disease. The fact that I was a part of that would be incredible."

Professor Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician at Imperial College London, added: "This therapy is specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones.

"It has worked in the laboratory and there is good evidence it will work in humans too, but we must stress we are still a long way from any actual therapy.

"We will continue with medical tests for the next five years and at the moment we are not recommending stopping Art but in the future depending on the test results we may explore this."

Only one person has ever been cured of HIV. He is Timothy Brown, also known as The ‘second’ Berlin Patient, who received a stem cell transplant from a patient with natural immunity to HIV in 2008.
Ian Green, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the Aids charity, said: "There is still no cure for HIV  and we welcome this ambitious study which looks to eradicate the virus completely from the bodies of people living with HIV, instead of suppressing it."
Philip Christopher Baldwin, an HIV awareness activist. "I'm really excited by the recent developments regarding a potential cure for the HIV virus.
"The first person to complete an experimental course of treatment has cleared the virus. I was diagnosed with HIV in 2010, when I was 24 years old. It took me a number of years to come to terms with my HIV.
"I am proud that five British universities have been responsible for this pioneering research. It remains to be seen whether the virus will return in the "cured" patient, or if the other people taking part in the medical trial will respond in a similar way.
"The research, though, is great progress and I hope that these early results will be repeated throughout the trial group. This is an important step towards a world free of the fear of HIV."

Polish women go on nationwide strike against proposed abortion ban

Polish women go on nationwide strike against proposed abortion ban
LONDON — Women all over Poland went on strike Monday to protest the government's plans for a ban on abortions. It was unclear how many women participated nationally, but organizers estimated that up to 6 million women joined in the protest, according to news reports.
Some protesters wore black clothes as they marched through the streets on "Black Monday." There were counter-demonstrations, as well, with antiabortion protesters marching in white clothes to distinguish themselves from their ideological opponents.
Poland's abortion laws are already among Europe's strictest. Women are allowed to have an abortion only if the pregnancy is due to incest or rape, or if the life of the pregnant woman or the fetus is under threat.
Under the proposal, at least two of those exceptions would no longer exist. Women choosing an abortion illegally would face five years behind bars. Doctors could be sentenced to prison if found guilty of helping with or performing abortions.
The proposal is supported by the country's Catholic Church, and the right-wing government has cleared a first parliamentary hurdle.
But human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have harshly criticized the plans, calling them "a dangerous backward step for women and girls in Poland." Critics say they also fear that women having miscarriages would automatically be placed under investigation.
London-based rights advocate Anna Blus noted in an analysis on Amnesty International's website: "At demonstrations across Poland protesters have held up coat hangers as a reminder of the primitive and dangerous methods of self-induced abortion women would be compelled to resort to."
If enacted, a total ban would make Poland one of the world's most restrictive nations on abortion. Only a few countries completely prohibit abortions.
The only two European states with such bans are the Vatican and Malta. The other countries having similar laws are in Latin America and the Caribbean: Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
The Polish Catholic Church and other supporters of an abortion ban have said that it would preserve lives. It is likely that the Polish parliament will pass a proposal which would still allow abortions if needed to save a woman's life.
Poland is among Europe's most religious countries, and the Catholic Church is considered to have strong influence. A 2015 survey by Gallup International found that there are fewer atheists in Poland, as a proportion of the population, than in almost all other European countries.
But some doctors in Poland have repudiated the Catholic Church's argument, saying such an abortion law could have deadly repercussions, according to Polish media reports translated by the BBC.
"If I have a patient with preeclampsia, who is 32 weeks pregnant, I will have to let her and her child die," Romuald Debski, a doctor at a hospital in Poland's capital, Warsaw, was quoted as saying. "I have to, because if I perform a Caesarean section and the child dies, I may go to prison for three years, because the child was premature."

الخميس، 1 سبتمبر، 2016

الحياة السرية للمتعايشين مع الإيدز في مصر - مصطفى فتحي

الحياة السرية للمتعايشين مع الإيدز في مصر

"حين علمت أنّي مصاب بفيروس الإيدز، شعرت برعب وخوف. تخيلت أنني سأموت
فكرت أن أنتحر لأسرع إيقاع الموت. لا داعي لذكر سبب إصابتي بالفيروس، ليس من حق أي إنسان أن يسأل عن سبب إصابتي، أنا مصاب بالفيروس وهذا يكفي". بوضوح وسلام نفسي كبيرين، يحكي شهاب (28 عاماً) عن مرضه لرصيف22، على مقعد خشبي كبير بالقرب من تمثال نجيب محفوظ في ميدان سفنكس (المهندسين). لا يبدو أي حزن أو تعب أو يأس على وجه الشاب المصري. "أتعايش مع الفيروس منذ سنتين. تضحكني الصورة الذهنية السخيفة المرسومة عن حامل الفيروس، إذ يتوقع الناس أن يكون نحيلاً جداً، أو يلفظ أنفاسه الأخيرة. لا تظهر علي أي أعراض من أي نوع، لست خطراً عليك، ولن تراني وأنا أبكي وأحدثك عن ندمي وأعطي نصائح للناس كيف يقتربون من الله وإلخ إلخ... أنا بخير، وسعيد، وحياتي عادية جداً، وأحب الاستماع إلى أغاني محمد منير".
اكتشف شهاب أنّه يحمل فيروس نقص المناعة المكتسبة HIV في العام 2014، بعدما زار مقر "خدمة المشورة والفحص الطوعي الخاص بالإيدز"، التابع لـ"البرنامج الوطني لمكافحة الإيدز" (حكومي). كان المقر يقع في المعامل المركزية في وسط القاهرة حينها، وانتقل الآن إلى مستشفى الحميات في العباسية. "عند علمي بالإصابة، فهمت أوّل حقيقة عن مرضي، وأن هناك فرقاً كبيراً بين الإصابة بفيروس HIV وبين الإيدز نفسه كمرض. يعيش الفيروس في جسدي ويمكنني أن أتحكم فيه بالعلاج ويظل كامناً إلى ما شاء الله، بينما الإيدز هو آخر مراحل المرض، حين يصير الجسد عرضة لأمراض انتهازية، وفي الغالب يصل الشخص لهذه المرحلة إذا لم يحصل على علاجه".
أقوال جاهزة
شاركغردبين وزراة الصحة المصرية ورسوم الجمارك والمنظمات الأجنبية، كيف يحصل مرضى الإيدز في مصر على علاجهم؟
شاركغرد"الفيروس الحقيقي هو روتين الحكومة المصرية التي ترى في المرضى فرصة للحصول على أموال" يقول مصاب بفيروس الإيدز في مصر

يقول شهاب إن المشكلة الأكبر التي يواجهها في مصر ليست مع المرض نفسه، بل مع نظرة الناس له، ومع تعنت حكومي يجبره على دفع مبالغ مالية مقابل الإفراج عن شحنات علاجه الذي يصله مجاناً كل ثلاثة أشهر.

الهروب من علاج وزارة الصحة

توفر وزارة الصحة علاج الإيدز مجاناً للمرضى المصريين، ويستلمونه شهرياً من عدة منافذ تابعة لوزارة الصحة في القاهرة والمحافظات. لكن شهاب يتجنّب الذهاب إلى مقر الوزارة، حيث يطلبون هويته الشخصية، وهو يفضل الحفاظ على خصوصيته. فرصة أن يقابل شخصاً يعرفه أثناء دخوله أو خروجه من المبنى واردة، وهذا بالنسبة له كابوس. "هناك وصمة عار حقيقية وعدم فهم للمرض، هذا سري ولا أريد لأي إنسان أن يعلم به".
بحث شهاب عن طبيب خاص ليعالجه، فنصحه باللجوء إلى منظمة خيرية أمريكية تدعى Aid For AIDS International توفر علاجاً حديثاً للمتعايشين مع الفيروس مجاناً. هناك عدة فوارق بين العلاج الذي تقدّمه وزارة الصحة المصرية، وعلاج المنظمة المذكورة.
علاج وزارة الصحة مجاني، مموّل من "الصندوق العالمي لمكافحة السيدا والسل والملاريا"، ويتألّف من برنامجين. الأول يضمّ دواءين هما Truvada وSustiva، ويضمّ الثاني دواءين هما Combivir وSustiva، ما يعني أنّ المريض يتناول قرصين من الدواء كل يوم، طوال أيام حياته.
علاج المنظمة الخيرية الأمريكية مجاني أيضاً، لكنّه أحدث، وبأعراض جانبية أقل حسب العلاج المختار من عدة أدوية متاحة، وكثيراW ما تكون المواد الفعالة في قرص واحد، عوضاً عن قرصين.
تواصل شهاب مع المنظمة الأمريكية التي طلبت منه تقارير طبية وشهادات من الطبيب المعالج، وعدة تحاليل للدم والكبد والكلى. وبعدما جهّز كل الوثائق المطلوبة، وافقت المنظمة أن ترسل له كل ثلاثة أشهر ثلاث عبوات من علاج Stribild، وهو علاج حديث، يتناول منه المريض يومياً قرصاً واحداً.
وصلت أول شحنة من الدواء لشهاب في العام 2015، عن طريق شركة شحن شهيرة. يتكفل المريض فقط بمصاريف الشح، لكن حين وصلت الشحنة الثالثة اكتشف شهاب أن وزارة الصحة المصرية أصدرت قراراً جديداً برفع قيمة ما يطلق عليه "رسوم صيدلة" على أي علاج يأتي من الخارج. فبعدما كانت تلك الرسوم تبلغ 10 جنيه فقط، أي أقل من دولار واحد، أصبحت 900 جنيه، أيّ قرابة 100 دولار. لا يسمح بخروج علاج شهاب المجاني من الجمارك المصرية في مطار القاهرة قبل أن يسدد تلك الرسوم. قدم الشاب تقارير تؤكد أن العلاج مجاني من الأساس، وبالتالي يجب ألا يدفع أي مصاريف، لكنّ إدارة الجمارك رفضت، أصرت على الدفع لتسليمه العلاج.
في مصر متعايشون كثر مع فيروس نقص المناعة المكتسبة، يلجأون إلى المنظمة الأمريكية ذاتها التي يتعاون معها شهاب. معظمهم يواجه الأزمة نفسها، ومنهم عادل (34 سنة) الذي يعمل بائعاً في أحد معارض بيع الأثاث. لم يستطع عادل دفع الزيادات التي أقرتها وزارة الصحة، وتوقف عن استلام علاجه. ففي حالة وقف العلاج ثمّ معاودته، قد يقوم الجسم برد فعل مقاوم للعلاج، ما يهدد حياة المريض.

عيادة دكتور جوهر

يساعد الطبيب المصري المختص بالأمراض المنقولة جنسياً عمرو جوهر عدداً كبيراً من المتعايشين المصريين مع فيروس الإيدز. وأصبحت عيادته في مدينة السادس من أكتوبر، ملاذاً لكثيرين منهم. يقول جوهر لرصيف22: "هناك تقدم حقيقي في علاجات الاصابة بفيروس نقص المناعة، وبسببها أصبحنا نتعامل مع المرض باعتباره مرضاً مزمناً، ليس بالضرورة قاتلاً لحامله، مثله مثل مرض السكري وارتفاع ضغط الدم. تتيح العلاجات الحديثة للمصاب بالفيروس حياة طبيعية نوعاً ما، وتقلل من كمية الفيروس الحمل الفيروسي viral load في الدم، لدرجة أنه يصبح غير قابل للفحص (Undetectable) على أجهزة الفحص. لكن هذا لا يعني أن الاصابة قد انتهت، فالعلاجات الحديثة لا توفر شفاء نهائياً من الفيروس بل تجعله تحت السيطرة دائماً. تسمّى هذه العلاجات بالعقاقير مضادة الفيروسات القهقرية (antiretroviral therapy)، ذلك لأنّ الفيروس المسبب للإيدز هو من النوع القهقري. وقد أثبتت هذه الأدوية فعالية كبيرة في السيطرة على الفيروس وإبطاء تطور المرض".
وحتى سنوات مضت كان يمكن للمتعايش أن يقضي حياته من دون علاج لفترة، قبل تدهور جهازه المناعي. ولكن، بحسب جوهر، "ظهر في السنوات الأخيرة بروتوكول أحدث، يرى أنه على المريض البدء بالعلاج فور اكتشاف إصابته، لأنّ ذلك يزيد من فرص الأشخاص المصابين في البقاء بصحة جيدة، كما أن فرص أن ينقل المصاب الفيروس لغيره تصبح ضعيفة جداً".

رسوم حكومية على علاج مجاني؟

رافق رصيف22 رحلة شهاب لحل أزمته مع وزارة الصحة، وتسلم علاجه من الجمارك في المطار. يحلم شهاب وغيره ممن يحصلون على علاجهم عبر المنظمة الأمريكية، أن تتراجع الوزارة عن قرار زيادة الرسوم المالية على الدواء المجاني أيضاً. يرى المتعايشون مع الفيروس أن تلك الرسوم غير محقة، وأن مرضهم لا يجب أن يكون وسيلة لحصول وزارة الصحة على أموال إضافية. تواصل رصيف22 مع الطبيب المصري وليد كمال، مدير البرنامج الوطني لمكافحة الإيدز التابع لوزارة الصحة المصرية، فوعد بالسعي لحلّ المشكة، وطلب أن تكون هناك شكوى مكتوبة ورسمية تقدّم للجهات المعنية. وبالفعل كتب المتعايشون شكوى تطالب بفك الحجز عن علاجهم، وسلموها لكمال الذي بدوره وعد أن يوصلها لوزير الصحة لاتخاذ قرار سريع، لكن حتى لحظة تجهيز هذا المقال لم تكن المشكلة قد حلّت.

أن تكون سورياً ومصاباً في مصر

أثناء كتابة هذا التحقيق، تواصل رصيف22 مع طبيب فضل عدم ذكر اسمه، لكنّه أطلعنا على قصة شاب سوري مقيم في مصر، حياته مهددة بالخطر، لأن القوانين المصرية تمنع وجود أجانب حاملين للفيروس على الأراضي المصرية. التقينا أمين (28 عاماً) في أحد مقاهي وسط القاهرة، ويبدو رغم نحوله، متأقلماً مع مرضه. "أعيش في مصر منذ سنة، متعايشاً مع الإيدز منذ أن كنت في سوريا، لكني لم أبدأ علاجي هناك، لأن جهازي المناعي قوي". أجرى أمين تحاليل في مصر، وتبيّن أنه بات بحاجة للعلاج. يقول لرصيف22: "لا أعرف ماذا أفعل للحصول على علاج في مصر، سمعت أن القانون المصري يرحل أي أجنبي مريض بالإيدز، أخاف أن أذهب لوزارة الصحة فيرحلونني".
يرن هاتف أمين، فيصدح بصوت أغنية "علي صوتك بالغنا"، لمحمد منير. نخبره عن شهاب، وعن عشقه لمنير أيضاً. لا يستغرب المصادفة، ويرد قائلاً: "وهو مين مابيحبش منير". رنة هاتف أمين محاولة منه للاندماج مع المصريين، بات يتحدث نفس اللهجة المصرية، وصار يعرف كل شوارع القاهرة، لكنه لا يزال "أجنبياً" بالنسبة للجهات الحكومية.
يؤكد مدير المعامل المركزية في وزارة الصحة الدكتور أحمد صفوت لرصيف22، ما كنّا نخشاه: "في حال حضور أحد الأجانب إلى المعامل المركزية بوزارة الصحة وبينت التحاليل أنه إيجابي، نخاطب جهات رسمية (لم يسمها) لترحيله خارج البلاد حتى لا تنتشر العدوى".
يقول أحد المصريين العاملين في "برنامج الأمم المتحدة المشترك لمكافحة الايدز"، إن كنيسة "كل القديسين ـ مصر الملجأ"، الواقعة في الزمالك، يمكنها مساعدة أمين وتوفير علاج مجاني له. رافقنا أمين في رحلته إلى الكنيسة، حيث أخبرنا أحد العاملين فيها، أنّ "المفوضية السامية لشؤون اللاجئين" توفر خدمات عدة للسوريين بشكل خاص، وللاجئين بشكل عام في مصر عبر الكنيسة، ومنها توفير علاج أي مرض، حتى الإيدز. يتم الأمر في سرية تامة ولا تعطي الكنيسة بيانات المرضى لأي جهة في مصر. قدم أمين شهادة من طبيبه المعالج وصور عن كل التحاليل التي قام بها حديثاً. طلب منه المسؤولون في الكنيسة تحاليل أخرى وتحملوا تكاليفها، ومن المتوقع ان يستلم أمين أول عبوة من علاجه غداً.

فوضى الأرقام

من الصعب الحصول على أرقام دقيقة حول المتعايشين مع الإيدز في مصر. تؤكد بعض جمعيات المجتمع المدني أن هناك عشرات آلاف الحالات، في حين تقول وزارة الصحة إن العدد لا يزيد عن سبعة آلاف. لا تصدر الوزارة إحصائيات رسمية بشكل دوري. وقبل سنتين، بين تقرير "للجمعية المصرية لمكافحة مرض الإيدز" (غير حكومية) أن عدد المتعايشين وصل إلى 8800 عام 2014، يحصل 2147 منهم على علاج مجاني من وزارة الصحة. ويقول أحمد صفوت مدير المعامل المركزية أنه تمّ اكتشاف 1163 حالة في العام 2015 فقط، إضافة إلى مئات الحالات التي اكتشفتها المعامل المركزية هذا العام. من جانبه يقول الدكتور إيهاب الخراط، مدير برنامج الحرية من الإدمان والإيدز، إن حالات الإصابة المكتشفة في مصر تراوح بين 1 و2% من الحالات الفعلية.
ويقول الدكتور وليد كمال مدير برنامج المكافحة إن المصابين في مصر يمكن تقسيمهم إلى 82% من الرجال، و18% من السيدات، وإن من بين هذه الحالات 19% حالة انتقل إليها المرض عن طريق العلاقات الجنسية المثلية، و39% عن طريق تعاطي المخدرات، و40% بطرق أخرى، و2% من أمهات لأطفال.
بعيداً عن لغة الأرقام، يقول شهاب: "تأقلمنا مع الفيروس ولم يعد بالنسبة لنا همّاً أو مشكلة". يضيف: "الفيروس الحقيقي هو روتين الحكومة المصرية التي ترى في المرضى فرصة للحصول على أموال من دون وجه حق، والفيروس الأكثر فتكاً بنا هو وصمة العار، ما يجعلنا ندفن أسرارنا في صندوق، ولا نطلع على مرضنا حتى أقرب الناس".