Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) marked World AIDS Day 2017 with a series of educational events and activities designed to inform the public and the medical community about the disease and ways it can be prevented. World Aids Day is celebrated annually every 1 December.
There are nearly 40 million people globally living with HIV/AIDS, with around one third unaware that they are infected. Since the start of the epidemic, an estimated 78 million people have become infected with HIV and 37 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses.
HMC Head of Infectious Diseases and AIDS Programme Manager Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, said the main mode of HIV transmission in Qatar is through sexual intercourse with HIV-infected people unaware that they are infected.
We have seen an increase in the number of new infections this year and it is mainly among younger people. This means we need to enhance our efforts to educate the community about risks, how the disease is transmitted and how they can be tested. The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the better the outcome for treatment. Through education and awareness we can help end the disease.’
To mark World AIDS Day 2017, HMC also held a symposium for healthcare professionals centred on the theme of ‘Working Together to Fight AIDS’. CDC staff also visited other HMC hospitals to share information with staff and patients about the disease and the importance of prevention.
HIV is spread mainly through physical contact during intercourse or by sharing injection needles with someone who has HIV. Qatar has put in place a National AIDS Programme focused on raising awareness of the virus as well as providing comprehensive care to affected individuals living in Qatar.
Under the national programme, anyone living in Qatar diagnosed with HIV is given the appropriate counseling and the most advanced treatment available. They are also assured of confidentiality and support.’
Working in collaboration with the Behavioural Healthcare Centre, experts from HMC will be visiting high schools and universities over the next 12 months as part of their awareness efforts.
Rashid Al Naimi, General Manager of the Center, said that they are pleased to be working with HMC and the experts from CDC to speak with students about the prevention of AIDS. He emphasised that awareness of how the disease is transmitted and ways to protect yourself is a key element in the fight against the disease.
The CDC is one of the cornerstones of Qatar’s fight against AIDS, acting as the country’s main diagnosis and treatment facility for infectious diseases.
For more information about AIDS and HIV, visit the CDC website through this link.