Oman- World AIDS Day to be marked today| MENAFN.COM

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 11:24 GMT

Oman- World AIDS Day to be marked today

(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) Muscat-

Oman registered 2394 cases of HIV/AIDS from 1984 till the end of 2013. There were 1514 people living with HIV (PLHIV) till the end of December 2013.Approximately 40 per cent of the new cases registered every year were women.

At the end of 2014 36.9mn people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS of which 2mn were new cases that year while 1.2mn died from HIV or related illnesses by the end of the same year said Nashia Nasib president of Positive Vision Oman's first non-governmental organisation (NGO) which is in the establishment stages and could further channelise efforts the country is taking to check the disease's spread and resulting deaths.

Speaking exclusively to Muscat Daily Nashia said 'The first case ever reported globally was in 1980 while in Oman the first case reported was in 1984. In 1986 the sultanate registered the first case of a child infected with HIV. The number of new cases per year is the highest in North Batinah followed by Muscat.

Among alive cases with known mode of transmission the main modes were found to be heterosexual (50.6 per cent) homosexual-bisexual (13.8 per cent) mother-to-child (5.7 per cent) Injected Drug Users (3.8 per cent) blood transfusion (3 per cent)' she said adding 'Unknown mode of transmission remains unacceptably high at 23.1 per cent.'

She further said that new HIV infections declined in all regions of the world since 2000 except for MENA Eastern Europe and Central Asia. 'In 2014 there were 240000 people living with HIV in the Middle East and North Africa' she pointed out adding that in that year alone there were estimated 22000 new HIV infections in the region. Between 2000 and 2014 the number of AIDS-related deaths in the MENA region more than trebled.

'In the MENA region 12000 people died of AIDS-related causes last year' she said. Between 2000 and 2014 the number of new infections in MENA grew by 26 per cent - the most rapid increase in HIV among world regions she added. Among children there were 2400 new HIV infections in the region in 2014.

Nashia said that the registration process for setting up Positive Vision began in May 2013 with plans to raise awareness through programmes and campaigns targeting risky behaviour specifically among most-at-risk populations and young people by working collaboratively with different sectors.

Besides raising awareness Positive Vision would support efforts on tackling stigma and discrimination against PLHIV and help them to live long healthy and productive lives. 'We would also build their capacity and encourage them to fight the fear and stigma by actively involving them in awareness programmes and national efforts against HIV/AIDS' she said.

Besides the NGO will also provide PLHIV and their families with social legal psychological and medical support. 'Our target is also to conduct behavioural studies in collaboration with relevant sectors the private sector and institutions to better understand the HIV situation in Oman and respond accordingly.'

She stressed that on this day one of the most crucial messages in her opinion would be the importance of getting tested and knowing one's status especially for those who engage in risky behaviour should be tested every six months. 'Knowing you are positive early is very important. HIV is a manageable disease and over the years medications have significantly changed the course of the infection since the early days of the epidemic and with the proper care and treatment you can live a healthy life.' she added.

The sooner you take steps to protect your health the better. Early treatment with anti-retroviral drugs and a healthy lifestyle can help you stay well. Prompt medical care prevents the onset of AIDS and some life-threatening AIDS-related conditions.

In his message on World AIDS Day which falls on December 1 Dr Babatunde Osotimehin executive director United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said 'Whilst HIV is a global threat the epidemic remains a huge challenge in Africa especially sub-Saharan Africa where communities have been ravaged by AIDS.

'Globally every year there are 380000 new HIV infections among girls and young women aged 1024 constituting almost 60 per cent of all new HIV infections. Fifteen per cent of all women living with HIV are aged 1524. Clearly our responses to HIV must address the needs of adolescent girls. UNFPA will work to close the gap so that no person is left behind and we end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.'

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