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HMC urges people to get HIV test to mark World AIDS Day

HMC urges people to get HIV test to mark World AIDS Day

Tribune News Network
Doha
Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Communicable Disease Center (CDC) is marking World AIDS Day 2018 by urging people to ‘know their status’ and get tested for the virus and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
World AIDS Day is marked annually on December 1.
This week, HMC is holding a range of educational events across the organisation, as well as in the community, to raise awareness about the HIV infection, its prevention and how to get tested.
Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
There are 37 million people globally living with HIV/AIDS, with around one-third of these people unaware that they are infected.
In 2017, around 1.8 million people worldwide were newly infected with HIV.
HMC’s Head of Infectious Diseases and AIDS Program Manager Dr Abdullatif al Khal said the main method of HIV transmission is through sexual intercourse with an HIV-infected person.
“We have seen an increase in the number of new infections this year and this is mainly among young people. Each year in Qatar, between 15 and 25 new HIV cases are diagnosed. This means we need to enhance our efforts to educate the community about risks, how the virus is transmitted and how they can be tested. The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the better the outcome of the treatment. Through education and awareness, we can help end the epidemic,” said Dr Khal.
He added, “HIV is spread mainly through physical contact during intercourse or by sharing injection needles with someone who has HIV. It can also be transmitted from a mother to her child during pregnancy and childbirth. Therefore, every pregnant woman should be tested for HIV during the early stages of her pregnancy because treatment of the mother will prevent transmission of the virus to her baby.”
Dr Khal said Qatar has put in place a National AIDS Program through the Ministry of Public Health that is focused on raising awareness of the virus as well as providing comprehensive care to affected individuals living in the country.
“Under the national programme, anyone living in Qatar who is diagnosed with HIV is given the appropriate counselling and the most advanced treatment available. They are also assured of confidentiality and support.” said Dr Khal.
Dr Hussam al Soub, senior consultant at HMC’s Infectious Diseases Unit, said HIV/AIDS is a type of STI, urging people to take steps to protect themselves against all forms of sexually transmitted infections.
“Gonorrhea and syphilis are among the most common types of STIs. These are infections that are passed from one person to another through intimate physical contact, including sexual intercourse. STIs are very common and the World Health Organization estimates that more than one million STIs are acquired every day across the world,” said Dr Soub.
Dr Soub said regular testing for STIs is important because it is possible to have an infection and not be aware of it.

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