People with HIV launch anti-stigma campaign

Updated 07 March 2015
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People with HIV launch anti-stigma campaign

Several people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have launched a campaign to counter the stigma around the illness still prevalent in parts of the Kingdom.
They want the public to treat those infected with HIV just as they would people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or high blood pressure, according to a recent report in a local publication.
Mohammad Mannsi, who has HIV, has set up an account on a social networking site to create awareness about the disease. Over the past four years he has been working with fellow HIV sufferers, doctors and other members of the public.
Mannsi has been helping those infected by providing support and advice, which include urging them to take life-saving medication as prescribed by their doctors, and to undergo regular checkups.
Mannsi said that people living with the illness are more confident about participating in community activities. However, there was still a great deal of fear-mongering taking place, with some people trying to create the impression that Islam forbids discussions on the illness.
He said people living with HIV have the right to get treatment, support and advice from doctors and other health professionals.
Batoul Suleiman, a doctor who specializes in HIV treatment, said even some doctors discriminate against those living with the virus. Some refuse to provide any sort of treatment for those who disclose they are infected.
According to the Ministry of Health, there were 1,777 people identified with AIDS in the country last year, of whom 542 were Saudis.
There has been an increase in cases, which would eventually affect the country’s economic growth, the ministry said.


Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salah sponsors military graduation ceremony

Updated 41 min 41 sec ago
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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salah sponsors military graduation ceremony

JEDDAH: Makkah’s Deputy Gov. Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz on Monday sponsored the 15th graduation ceremony of the King Abdullah Air Defense College on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
It was attended by Air Defense Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Mazyad bin Sulaiman Al-Amro. Maj. Gen. Abdullah bin Mohammed Mishary, commander of the college, welcomed Prince Abdullah and the other attendees.
“The crown prince’s sponsorship is a clear indication of his support to the graduates as he shares their joy of graduating and joining the fields of pride, dignity and honor as part of the Saudi Armed Forces,” Mishary said in his speech.
“In particular, they will be taking part in the Air Defense Forces and the Strategic Missile Force, which has become a source of pride for Saudis and a force armed with knowledge, faith and modern weapons under the generous support of King Salman and his crown prince,” Mishary added.
“This year’s graduates include a number of students from fraternal and friendly states… They grew in education and knowledge through the latest education and training techniques under the supervision of distinguished Saudi teachers and trainers,” he said.
“The excellent training helped the graduates acquire the skills that qualify them to be leaders armed with education and faith, so they can defend the homeland and gain this great honor.”
Mishary congratulated the graduates and wished them good luck in their professional life, telling them that “the journey of giving goes on as long as one is faithful to his religion, leadership and homeland.”
The graduates presented a military parade, after which they took the oath. At the end of the ceremony, Prince Abdullah honored outstanding students and received a gift.