- Title: SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia hosts forum on combating HIV/AIDS in Arab countries
- Date: 1st December 2011
- Summary: RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (NOVEMBER 28, 2011) (REUTERS) WIDE OF HIV/AIDS FORUM SIGN READING 'DECEMBER 1ST WORLD AIDS DAY' VIEW OF FORUM UNDERWAY SAUDI ARABIA HEALTH MINISTER ABDULLAH AL-RABEEAH (SITTING ON RIGHT) SIGN SHOWING PARTICIPATING BODIES IN FORUM: 'LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES' AND 'MINISTRY OF HEALTH' MEDIA SAUDI ARABIA HEALTH MINISTER ABDULLAH AL-RABEEAH PRESENTING A GIFT TO LAYLA NAJM, PLENIPOTENTIARY MINISTER OF THE ARAB LEAGUE, (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SAUDI ARABIA HEALTH MINISTER ABDULLAH AL-RABEEAH SAYING: "The assembly to combat AIDS began six months ago and, out of this, came the Riyadh Document, adopted by the Executive Council of Arab Health Ministers. The Council suggested Saudi Arabia host this meeting, and the issuing of this document is the result of efforts by Saudi Arabia. God Willing, this document will not only be for the Arab world but for the Arab and Muslim worlds and the entire world." VIEW OF FORUM ISLAMIC PREACHER SHEIKH AYED AL QARNI/AL QARNI GETTING UP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SAUDI ISLAMIC SCHOLAR SHEIKH AYED AL-QARNI SAYING: "We are meeting here to show mercy to the patient who suffers from this disease. We should not blame him nor see this disease as a stigma. We should share his pain and show mercy towards him." WOMEN CLAPPING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ACTOR ALI AL-ASSERI SAYING: "The important bit of information that I've learnt today is what millions of people should know, which is that it is possible to live with AIDS and to take part in public life fully. It is also possible for married people to live their marital life to the full by taking simple measures that do not greatly affect the quality of their lives." PEOPLE APPLAUDING SIGN READING: 'GETTING TO ZERO 0%'
- Embargoed: 16th December 2011 12:00
- Location: Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: International Relations,Health,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAEDAVN74R382U5BO0HPOO92EOS
- Story Text: A forum on HIV/AIDS has kicked off in Riyadh, where experts and officials are meeting to discuss the emergence of the disease throughout the Arab world.
Representatives from 22 Arab countries as well as religious scholars attended on Monday (November 28) the first day of the forum titled 'Uniting Arab Countries to Combat AIDS,' sponsored by the Arab League.
An estimated 34 million people worldwide had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS in 2010, according to the UNAIDS data. This number is up 17 percent on 2001, when 28.6 million were living with HIV.
In the Middle east, there were 470,000 adults and children with HIV in 2010 in this region, up from 320,000 in 2001. New infections also rose to 59,000 in 2010 from 43,000 in 2001, and deaths from AIDS increased to 35,000 in 2010 from 22,000 in 2001.
A well-known Saudi Islamic scholar, who addressed the forum, said it was important to remove the social stigma attached to AIDS.
"We are meeting here to show mercy to the patient who suffers from this disease. We should not blame him nor see this disease as a stigma. We should share his pain and show mercy towards him" said Sheikh Ayed al-Qarni.
Researchers have found that the epidemics of HIV were emerging among gay and bisexual men in the Middle East and North Africa and high levels of risky sexual behaviour threatened to spread the AIDS virus further in the region.
In the first study of its kind in a region where homosexuality and bisexuality are taboo, researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar found evidence for concentrated HIV epidemics -- where infection rates are above 5 percent in a certain population group -- in several countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Tunisia.
The researchers stressed the need for at-risk countries to act quickly to expand HIV surveillance and access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment services for men who have sex with men in an effort to halt further spread.
The forumon Friday (December 2).
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None