Bahrain ‘winning war against Aids’
Manama, June 26, 2011
Baharin has made significant progress in its attempts to tackle the scourge of Aids with a drastic drop in the number of new cases reported this year, according to a top official.
National Aids Prevention Committee head Dr Somaya Al Jowder said only three new cases have been reported this year, compared to 18 throughout the whole of last year.
One woman and two men were now undergoing treatment at government health facilities, she added.
"This seems to be a significant reduction compared with the last decade," she said. "Six months down the line and we have only three cases while last year we had 18. We may still get a surge of patients and are keeping our fingers crossed."
Speaking on the sidelines of an event to mark National Day Against Drugs, Dr Al Jowder said an Interior Ministry National Aids Committee "change makers" programme had rehabilitated 15 former drug addicts.
"They were once hardcore addicts but were motivated by our team and rehabilitated," she said. "They are now leading others to make the change and give up drugs for good."
Dr Al Jowder said the former addicts had become "change makers" in their own right and set an example to others.
"There are around 400 addicts in prison who are also now enrolled in this programme," she said during the event, at the Interior Ministry Officer's Club, Gudaibiya.
"The idea is to educate the people and reduce HIV infections among the population.We also aim to prevent drugs and narcotic use as well as look at preventing hepatitis C."
Dr Al Jowder earlier said the committee conducts regular screening for patients, mainly drug addicts, who fall in the high-risk category.
She said patients living with advanced stages of HIV/Aids were given three main drugs in Bahrain that should be consumed at least twice a day. They include AZT (also known as Retrovir), 3TC (lamivudine or Epivir) and indinavir.
An anonymous Aids testing clinic has been running at Naim Health Centre since December 2009. Individuals can voluntarily test themselves for Aids and hepatitis C and maintain confidentiality.
There have been 380 HIV cases detected in Bahrain since 1986, of which 160 died. – TradeArabia News Service