Bahrain aims to slash HIV infections by half
Manama, April 22, 2014
Bahrain plans to slash HIV infections among children and drug addicts by 50 per cent in the next 12 months, a report said.
Health officials also aim to eliminate deaths among pregnant women due to AIDS-related medical complications, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Details of the plan were discussed during a meeting yesterday, which was attended by Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi, members of the National Committee for the Prevention of AIDS (NCAP) and Disease Control Section chairman Dr Adel Al Sayyad.
The scheme is part of a UNAIDS global vision called "Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths."
Dr Al Sayyad said Bahrain was also on the right track to reducing HIV infections through sexual transmission by 50 per cent in the next year.
"If we compare ourselves with global statistics, HIV prevalence rate is low in Bahrain," he said. "We have adopted the UNAIDS goals and yes we can achieve the plan by 2015."
However, health officials said their main concern was expatriates who contract HIV/AIDS in large numbers compared to Bahrainis.
"The first case of HIV discovered in Bahrain was in 1986 and since then we have detected over 400 plus HIV and AIDS cases among citizens and 1,600 cases among expatriates," said Dr Al Sayyad. "Expatriates who are infected are repatriated."
He said a total of 241 infected Bahrainis are still alive.
He added that the infection rate due to use of contaminated needles was 58.1 per cent. During the meeting, officials briefed the minister on strategies and the national plan to tackle the disease. Dr Al Sayyad said they also discussed national awareness initiatives including targeting the expatriate community to deal with the epidemic, which is the fastest growing in the Arab region. – TradeArabia News Service