Bahrain marks World Aids Day by noting 2011’s 64 cases

December 3, 2011
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Thirteen Bahrainis have been diagnosed with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 2011, the acting health minister has said.

The figure represents one fifth of the 64 cases in the kingdom in the first 11 months of the year, Dr Fatima Al Beloushi said as Bahrain marked Aids World Day.

According to the minister, 186 people have died in Bahrain from the disease since 1986 when official records started.

Low prevalence

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bahrain, compared with a large number of countries, has a low prevalence of the disease, but warned that it should not be used as an excuse for lack of action.

“The relatively young age structure of the country’s population, the mobility of a significant number of expatriates, and the increased movement of Bahrainis abroad for educational and commercial purposes, heighten the risk of an outbreak,” the UNDP said in a report.

“Certain factors that need to be addressed include a lack of adequate information and awareness about HIV/Aids, especially among at-risk groups, as well as the lack of an adequate regulatory framework to provide guidelines on prevention.”

Taboo

Treatment and reporting of HIV/Aids, as well as obtaining reliable data, constitute a serious challenge in a society where the subject is still considered taboo by many individuals, the UNDP said.

According to health officials in Bahrain, the major cause of HIV/Aids transmission was through sexual contact, ranging between 85 and 95 per cent of the cases.

Awareness

The UN report said that “because of the traditional nature of Bahraini society, the most promising approach to a reduction of HIV/Aids cases is a programme of community awareness and prevention.”

“This is the necessary key to reducing infection rates and ultimately defeating Aids.

Even though it is unlikely that Bahrain will suffer the dramatic increases seen in some other parts of the developing world, nevertheless the low prevalence rates can be halted and reversed at a relatively low cost by investing in prevention and care before HIV/Aids becomes a significant health issue.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-marks-world-aids-day-by-noting-2011-s-64-cases-1.941543

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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