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Being Sentenced to AIDS



Written by: Rana Khaled Awwad

Edited by: Muhammad Balbaa, Gilan Choubachy, Mona Timor Shehata

Published by: Amira Haytham

“And when I die, I won’t die from AIDS, I won’t die because of my disease, but yours.” This Quote mentioned in Hend Sabry’s movie “Asmaa” accurately describes the true suffering and the weight that an AIDS patient carries more than the disease in itself, that is not as fatal as society’s condemnation like:“She has AIDS! She definitely fornicated!”, “She brought shame to her family” and “He has AIDS! So he must be a drug abuser and maybe even a homosexual”. These are justifications that are usually heard from judgmental ignorant people piling on the dismay of HIV patients, filled with glee as they think they fully deserved and sealed their fate to be neglected and abused by society for the horrid sin of catching a disease.

A lot of people have to hide their illness and choose suffering in silence, as a better choice, rather than facing society simply because of the countless, innumerable accusations that will be directed at them from their friends and family for the simple act of catching a disease.

AIDS may cause the death of patients by attacking their immune system. But they choose that fate over being attacked day in and day out by the society’s stares and ridicule for simply having the illness. Psychological demolishing and baseless shameful accusations cause the carriers of the disease to cower and isolate themselves in the face of this fatal virus.

A dentistry student in her final year had been applying a tooth extraction operation on a patient, using her own medical equipment including a tool referred to as the “needle”. A tool used in operation, that unfortunately had punctured her hand while using, causing it to bleed.

Since that Hepatitis C is transmitted via blood, she had her suspicions that she might have contracted it from the patient, and decided to run some tests and to make a diagnosis to make sure that she was not infected with Hepatitis C or any other diseases that’s blood transmissible.

In order to save time, prior to taking the everlasting time taken in examinations (tests), she decided to ask the patient himself whether he suffers from any blood transmissible diseases or not. Unfortunately, tracking the patient’s health status revealed that he does not have Hepatitis C; however, he is HIV positive. Due to government hospitals’ bureaucracy when it comes to procedures for AIDS diagnoses, tests and vaccinations, over 72 hours had passed since the incident, consequently, the vaccination would not be effective.

What’s shocking regarding the whole incident is that the first concern that rushed to the doctor and her parents was “How are we going to face society?”, instead of it being as, it should be, with a family member contracting a serious illness, “Will I be able to handle the treatment well?”

Those with serious diseases, specifically AIDS or HIV at the beginning of inoculation of virus- carriers, hate to be treated by society as if they are lesser than healthy individuals, either with extreme consideration and over the top sweetness, condescending treatment of cancer patients comes to mind, or with blatant victim blaming, bitterness and faceless accusations that drives HIV patients to not wish for  a cure for AIDS, but for a cure for society’s unjustified prejudice and uncompromising, unrelenting ignorance of the matter.


Scientifically speaking, AIDS has different ways of transmission: yes it is sexually transmitted and widely spread among homosexuals and drug abusers, which is transmitted mainly through drugs. Be that as it may, why not consider the possibility that one may become infected with AIDS simply out of the carelessness of a barber?

Surprisingly enough, shaving using contaminated equipment that was in contact with a carrier is one of the most common methods of transmitting AIDS. Infections at hairdressers for the ladies comes in as a strong second. Contaminated blood transfusions and its equipment are also a leading cause for patients to catch the virus. In government hospitals, cleanliness is not much of a focus due to the place’s budget, which increases AIDS infection incidents.

There is a slight nuance, yet an important distinction between HIV and AIDS. HIV is when the virus infects the body and remains latent and symptom-less for years. Once the symptoms appear, the patient is said to be an AIDS patient.

Society has affected people’s ideologies when it comes to illness, made it something to live in fear of when it comes to fatal diseases. Society keeps setting limits and barriers to diminish our actions, our choices, our appearance and as of late, our health. All of us believe that upon our death, we will be judged based on our own actions and choices; we must remember that society will not justify our actions in our “dunia” and to treat others how we hope others will treat us.

The problem is that society’s role is undeniable and should be vital, but a positive one: instead of directing all this hatred towards a human being suffering from a certain disease eating their bodies, enlighten them more about the disease to have their own precautions. Conduct more awareness campaigns, put hygiene and care measures in place when it comes to handling blood. A lot of people get the disease not because they are immoral, sluts, or even drug abusers; they simply get it because they are unaware.

For whoever is suffering from HIV, your disease can not be treated, but can be cured! You can live a long lasting life carrying this virus and live peacefully without suffering from pain, health obstacles, and nothing is precluded by your disease. However, take your precautions during sexual intercourse in order not to transmit the virus to your partner. Consequently, fertility is almost impossible in order not to harm the partner or the future baby by carrying the virus, as well. In addition to these precautions, marry, live healthily, practice your normal life and your daily routine, as long as you take the required medications to limit the virus and let it be latent preventing it from damaging your blood cells.

In conclusion, fear is the true fatal disease that devours us alive, not AIDS. For one to truly plan to defeat this undef-eatable societal condemnation, one would need to stand up to the world and take away its power of making us cower and doubt ourselves through their petty judgment.


Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma



Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here:

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021



The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021



DECODING FUTURE HR: Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s trends and opportunities

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

The world in 2020 has changed to a ‘new normality’ but what’s that ‘new normality’ everybody talks about? Is it here to stay? How is it affecting us in our daily lives in the different versions of ourselves? As a customer, an entrepreneur, a parent, a friend…a worker…

Our job is a key part of our lives and we are indeed living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and other HR challenges. It has become clear that few organisations are likely to revert to pre-pandemic practices even after a vaccine is found.

Decoding Future HR 2021 is bringing you the ideology of how today’s challenges are becoming tomorrow’s trends and opportunities resulting in HR excellence.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the trends and best practices shaping future HR
  • Get valuable insights from expert speakers
  • Share ideas and research to help your organisation reach its goals
  • Understand what do employees want in ‘New Normal’
  • Develop new vision for HRBP and Centre of Expertise
  • Identify, integrate and understand stakeholders to create an intentional employee experience
  • Approaches and elements to leadership development.

Some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Tshepo Yvonne Mosadi , Human Resources Director, The HEINEKEN Company
  • Sarah Tabet, Global HR Director/ D&I Leader | Author for “Inclusion Starts with U”, Schneider Electric
  • Wadah Al Turki, Country Talent Manager KSA and Bahrain, IKEA
  • Lesha Chakraborti, Head of HR – EMEA, Travelex
  • Shaban Butt, Director HR & Administration, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sajjad Parmar, Head of Rewards – APAC, eBay
  • Katey Howard, VP, Talent Management AMESA, Pepsico
  • Chen Fong Tuan, HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics
  • Prerna Ajmera, Senior Director, HR Experiences and Solutions, Microsoft
  • Václav Koranda, Vice President Human Resources / Member of the Board of Directors, T-System
  • Amy MacGregor, VP Employee Experience, Global HR, Manulife
  • Adwait Kashalkar, People Analytics and Programme Management Leader, APAC, Mastercard

Click here to view all speakers:

At Wisdom we remain positive that ‘normality’ will soon return and that we will be able to physically meet together once again as speakers, delegates and sponsors at our beautiful venues around the world. But meanwhile, life continues and we need to keep in touch and learn from each other. This 24-hour virtual event will be of great benefit and value to your businesses and its continued development during these challenging times. While this virtual event comes at a lesser cost, it provides for now a wider reach into an international audience, with flexibility of access to content as well as allowing you to have the same opportunity as at a face-to-face session for one-to-one business meetings. We look forward to welcoming you in January.

Date and time: 19-20 January 2021Where: Virtual engaging platform
  Further information and bookings:        Contact:   #WSDM_BI
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