2007 News Story

Saudi authorities expand HIV/AIDS awareness campaign

Saudi medical authorities are expanding their HIV/AIDS awareness campaign to mosques throughout Saudi Arabia as the holy month of Ramadan approaches, Asharq Al-Awsat reported today.

According to the director of the national program to fight AIDS, Dr. Sana Flimban, the campaign intends to reach the largest possible group of people, both Saudis and non-Saudis. She also told Asharq Al-Awsat that campaign organizers were reporting a positive response from the public.

Launched last year, the aids awareness program has targeted places where large numbers of people gather, such as airports, markets, recreational centers and universities.

Minister of Health Dr. Hamad Al-Manie said in a statement that the awareness campaigns were launched as a result of suffering endured by patients who subsequently took actions that were detrimental to themselves and their families. The minister noted that Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest percentages of AIDS patients on a global scale, primarily due to the country’s Islamic faith and awareness of the disease.

Current statistics indicate that by 2006 the cumulative number of HIV cases had reached 11,520, of whom 2,658 were Saudis and 8,852 were non-Saudis. Two-thirds of the HIV cases are estimated to be men, and the number of infected adults aged between 15-49 was estimated at 79.5 percent, while the total number of infected children was 6.4 percent of the detected cases.