AIDS Incidence Rate Decreased in the Kingdom

There is a notable decrease in detected cases of AIDS among Saudis by 6.1% compared to the detected cases in 2011; and by 1.8% compared to 2010. A report issued by the Ministry of Health’s Media and Health Awareness Information Center indicated that from 1984 to 2012, the total number of detected cases of AIDS has reached 18,762; 5.348 cases of whom were Saudis while 13,414 were non-Saudis. In addition, in 2012, 1,233 new cases of AIDS were detected; 431 of whom were Saudis while 802 were non-Saudis.

 This came in a report issued on the advent of World AIDS Day, which is held under the theme: “HIV treatment works! Treat More, Treat Better”. The World AIDS Day is celebrated each year on the 1st of December, with a view to encouraging people all over the world to promote awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, as well as stimulating international cooperation to combat this hazardous disease.

 The report discussed also HIV/AIDS transmission methods in 2012, highlighting that most prominent methods include the forbidden sexual intercourse by 96% (414 cases out of 431), the injection drug abuse by 2.5 % (11 cases), and then Mother-to-fetus infection by 1.5% (6 cases). Jeddah Province still compromises the highest number of new cases with AIDS recording 39% of Saudis, and 45% of non-Saudis.

The report manifested that although HIV might exist in other body liquids such as saliva, sweat, tears, and urine, it is actually not transmitted through such liquids or through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sneezing, coughing, bathtubs or swimming pools, nor by using toilets or towels, or eating with or sharing utensils with an infected person or through insects.

The report pointed out that up until now, there’s no cure for HIV/AIDS or a vaccine to prevent HIV infection, but a variety of drugs can be used in combination to control the virus and delay the course of the disease. Still, prevention is the only defensive way against AIDS. This can be achieved through strengthening religious morals,

 In the same context, the Director of the Media and Health Awareness Information Center, Dr. Amal bin Muawiya Abul-Jadayel, stated that on Sunday 1/12/2013 (corresponding to 28/1/1435H), the Center will host the Infectious Diseases Consultants Dr. Ahmad Al-Hakoy from 10 a.m. till 12 p.m.; and Dr. Abdullah Al-Hogail from 1 p.m. till 3 p.m.

 Moreover, on Monday 2/12/2013 (corresponding to 29/1/1435H), the Center will host the Supervisor-General of AIDS Combat Program at the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr. Sanaa Flimban, from 1 p.m. till 3 p.m. on the toll free number 80024949444, specified by MOH to answer any inquiries about any health or drug problems, and to provide information for the patients and the healthy people equally.

 Dr. Flimban pointed out that the medical team at the Center is fully prepared to answer any inquiries or concerns about AIDS or other diseases all week days, during working hours, stressing that there is an integral team to answer questions and health problems sent to the MOH official account on Twitter @SAUDIMOH. She stated that booklets and posters have been prepared about AIDS to be distributed to all health affairs directorates around the Kingdom to benefit from them while celebrating the World AIDS Day.

 It is worth mentioning that the Kingdom is considered one of the low-HIV-prevalence countries with a rate of 2 cases per 10000. The MOH’s National Program to Combat AIDS follows up AIDS cases and makes every effort in the preparation of curative and awareness programs, with a view to controlling and combating the spread of the disease. This is to be carried out through a number of programs, including the AIDS Detection Program and Early Treatment at specialized centers.That’s to be added to the AIDS Health Awareness Program meant to follow up those in contact with patients to ensure infection has not been transmitted to them. There are also fixed and mobile clinics for AIDS-related consultancy and voluntary screening, in addition to expanding surveillance programs to detect emerging infections, and carrying out the epidemiological researches that have to do with AIDS transmission among vulnerable people, besides developing programs for the prevention of infection transmission from mother to fetus, and the prevention of transmission through contaminated needles.

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