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.


Role of Saudi Arabian Military Industries to enrich Kingdom’s defense capabilities hailed

Updated 7 min 50 sec ago
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Role of Saudi Arabian Military Industries to enrich Kingdom’s defense capabilities hailed

JEDDAH: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa on Thursday visited the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) pavilion at the Bahrain International Air Show 2018. The king was accompanied by Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov.
SAMI’s team gave a detailed presentation on the achievements and future plans of Saudi Arabia’s military industries. Initiatives launched by SAMI to develop the sector are part of efforts to realize Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s goal of localizing 50 percent of Saudi military spending by 2030.
King Hamad and Kadyrov were shown the first model of the Avante 2200 corvette. Five Avante 2200 corvettes and combat management systems are being built for the Saudi Ministry of Defense.
The king praised SAMI’s rapid success, and expressed his admiration for the achievements and development projects of the military and air industries in Saudi Arabia.
The three-day show, held under the patronage of King Hamad, runs until Friday at the Sakhir Air Base in southern Bahrain. It was officially opened by Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the king’s personal representative and chairman of the event’s organizing committee.
SAMI CEO Dr. Andreas Schwer said: “Our participation in the Bahrain International Air Show is aimed at highlighting SAMI’s growing military capabilities and showcasing our achievements in enhancing self-sufficiency in defense capabilities.”
“We are keen to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the show, and the promising investment prospects in Saudi Arabia’s booming military industries, in order to support the Kingdom’s vision of localizing more than 50 percent of military-equipment spending by 2030.”
Civil aviation
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation also signed a strategic partnership agreement with technology company Taqnia Space with the aim of developing cooperation in a number of areas and strengthening Saudi Arabia’s position in the field of aviation, regionally and internationally, in accordance with Vision 2030.
The agreement was co-signed by the authority’s chairman, Abdul Hakim Al-Tamimi, and Taqnia Space CEO Abdullah Al-Osaimi, on the sidelines of the airshow.
GACA has partnered with Taqnia Space to issue licenses for the installation of satellite communication systems on civil aircraft in the Middle East and North Africa, similar to the licenses issued by international organizations, and organize international expos in Saudi Arabia where passengers can try out new in-flight satellite and entertainment services.
Al-Osaimi said that this will create business opportunities and strengthen the Kingdom’s position in these specialized fields that offer advanced technologies related to civil aviation safety.
He added: “The UON pilot service was launched last week on a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Riyadh to Geneva. This service, which will be available for passengers in the next few days, offers high-speed internet, and 3G and 4G services, in addition to live television broadcasts.”
Al-Tamimi said that the importance of the agreement lies in its contribution to promoting the construction of modern air-transport systems and infrastructure, and the development of effective procedures and practices to ensure a high-quality and safe flight environment that will make the authority a leader in civil aviation at the regional and international levels.
The agreement will help to achieve the aims of Vision 2030 and support the objectives of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 through the development of aviation services to ensure excellence of performance, he added.