Kingdom defeating HIV

Updated 13 December 2013
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Kingdom defeating HIV

Saudi Arabia remains the least affected Arab country by the HIV virus despite being the largest country in the Arab world. According to a report released by the Ministry of Health on the World Aids Day, “there is a significant decrease of 6.1 percent in AIDS cases among Saudis compared to 2011 and by 1.8 percent compared to 2010.”
Jeddah tops the list for the highest number of HIV cases in the Kingdom.
This is believed to be due to the presence of a large number of expats, especially Africans.
Health authorities have initiated a mandatory health checkup during the renewal of expat residency permits and prior to the issuance of permits to newly arriving workers.
“This is a great opportunity to unite in the fight against this deadly disease and to pay tribute to the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS,” the ministry’s statement said.
The report said that 18,762 cases have been discovered in Saudi Arabia since 1984 up until the end of 2012, which include 5,348 Saudis and 13,414 foreigners.
Last year, some 1,233 new cases infected with the virus were discovered, including 431 Saudis and 802 foreigners. There is a five-to-one ratio of AIDS among Saudi men and women.
About 74 percent of HIV patients are between the age of 15 and 49. The report said that 96 percent of people became HIV-positive through sexual intercourse, 2.5 percent through injection and 1.5 percent due to infection during pregnancy.
Sanaa Felimban, chairwoman of the Saudi Charity Association for AIDS patients (SACA), told Arab News: “No one should just assume that the virus will never affect them. More than 600 Saudi women were infected with AIDS post-marriage. About 80 percent Saudi women acquired the disease from their husbands. The majority of female patients discovered that they were infected only after having several children.”
Felimban said women should test themselves for AIDS before they get pregnant and even during the first few months of pregnancy.
Ziad Memish, deputy minister of Health, said: “The ministry is expanding mobile units for HIV diagnosis and AIDS-related counseling.”
Expats who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are put in solitary confinement pending deportation.
Shihab Kottukad, an Indian social worker, said: “Many expats who contract the virus are reluctant to return home for fear of being stigmatized. In fact, many people simply refrain from getting tested at all due to social discrimination.”
The HIV virus has claimed more than 36 million lives since the discovery of the virus more than 20 years ago.


First Saudi female air traffic controllers begin work

Updated 22 March 2019
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First Saudi female air traffic controllers begin work

  • Eleven women completed a one-year program conducted by Saudi Air Navigation Services

JEDDAH: Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) on Wednesday celebrated the appointment and start of work of the first batch of Saudi female air traffic controllers at an air traffic control center in Jeddah.
Eleven women completed a one-year program conducted by SANS in cooperation with the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation. This is the first program to qualify women to work as air traffic controllers.
The academy initiative, in collaboration with SANS, seeks to create more jobs for women as part of a reform push to wean the economy off oil. Vision 2030 plan aims to increase employment and diversify revenue sources.
Earlier, SANS CEO Ryyan Tarabzoni said the state-owned company was prioritizing the hiring of women in the profession, as the country pushes to extend women’s rights in the country and also recruit more nationals as part of the “Saudization” project.