Around 200 HIV cases in Qatar, says official


Citing the current figures for Qatar, she said that the government had taken effective steps to prevent its spread. But surveys are also needed to identify behaviors that make people vulnerable to the killer disease.

It is very important to conduct such surveys to prevent the incidence of the disease. Mali said that it is generally believed that due to the conservative nature of society, the Arab world had low incidence of HIV/Aids, but the reality was entirely different.

Last year alone, there were 67,000 new HIV cases in the Arab world, second only after Eastern Europe. In Western Europe, the figure was 22,000. "From these figures we can very well guess that the situation in the Arab world is alarming."

This figure (of 67,000 new HIV cases) is the reported cases. "I personally believe that this could just be five per cent of the actual number of new HIV cases in the Arab world."

Mali was bitterly critical of the media in the Arab world and said they did not focus on the spread of HIV/Aids and the various social and psychological aspects related to it. They pay attention only when there is a conference or some other event.

Plans are afoot to train HIV carriers in the region and make them learn to live with the disease. People also need to be trained how to treat them and not look down on them, she said. The social stigma attached to the disease needs to be fought.

Arab countries need to frame and enforce new laws which guarantee protection of the right of HIV carriers, she said. There are an estimated 40 million HIV carriers all over the world and some 30 million of them are concentrated in the Southern Sahara region of Africa alone. Mali is on a brief visit here.


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