Kingdom’s battle against Aids scourge relentless

Kingdom’s battle against Aids scourge relentless
Updated 03 December 2014

Kingdom’s battle against Aids scourge relentless

Kingdom’s battle against Aids scourge relentless

Saudi Arabia has witnessed a 26 percent increase in AIDS infections. A total of 831 cases were recorded in 2012, which went up to 1,777 in 2013. The total number of AIDS cases in the Kingdom currently is 18,762, according to a recent study quoted by local media.
A total of 96 percent were infected through sexual relations and injections, while 1.5 percent occurred with mothers passing the virus on to their unborn children.
Meanwhile, on World AIDS Day on Monday, local journalists met with several Saudi women living with the virus. A woman infected with AIDS said she found out about her disease only after her husband was diagnosed 12 years ago.
Although she was depressed for a long time, she has survived to see one of her sons get married, and has managed to raise her other children. They stood by her when she told them about her illness.
The second shock for her came when all employees at her workplace were required to have AIDS tests. When her employers discovered her illness, they dismissed her. She then started making handicrafts at her home and became a member of the AIDS Friends Society, where she met many women living with the disease.
Another survivor said she got the disease by piercing her nose because the person who did it for her used the same needle for everyone. She was fearful that her family would throw her out of the house.
However, the AIDS Friends Society convinced her to go to King Saud Hospital for treatment. There she met with an AIDS survivor and married him. They now have two children who are well and healthy.
Supervisor of the Saudi AIDS Charitable Society in Jeddah, Mousa Hayazi’, said awareness about AIDS and HIV is increasing because of the large number of people living with the disease.
He said they work to help those with the disease with counseling and ensuring they can live in a dignified manner.
Abrar Al-Shihabi, a college student and member of the AIDS charitable society, feels she has a duty to help people with the illness. She conducts awareness campaigns at universities, schools and social welfare shelters.
Abdullah Al-Thamali, coordinator of the AIDS program in Taif, said there is more awareness of the disease in the region.
The Ministry of Health has announced that there are around 80 children infected with AIDS in the city, but who lead normal lives at home and school, he said.