Registered HIV/AIDS cases rising in Egypt: U.N.

A picture taken during World AIDS Day 2013 in Nepal. More HIV / AIDS cases are being registered in Egypt. (File photo: Shutterstock)

More HIV / AIDS cases are being registered in Egypt, UNAIDS country coordinator Ahmed Khamis told Al Arabiya News on Wednesday.

As of June 2014, “the number of confirmed cases living with HIV is between 3,700 and 3,800, up from 2,471 in 2012,” Khamis said.

“The estimated number of people living with HIV in Egypt is 7,500… up from 6,500 in 2012.”

However, “in Egypt the prevalence of HIV in the population is low” compared to other countries, “with only 0.02% of the population living with AIDS,” he said.

Social stigma

HIV patients face a social stigma, especially in developing countries such as Egypt, where religion, culture and tradition usually dictate the behaviour of individuals.

“There isn’t enough awareness in Egypt, let alone the stigmatization and discrimination around HIV,” Khamis said.

“Those affected by the virus face discrimination on a daily basis in society, from family, neighbors, and worst of all, sometimes through medical service providers.”

The Egyptian Health Ministry offers medication and treatment free of charge to HIV patients.

This, he said, “allows them to live long years carrying the virus but barely showing any symptoms.”
 

Gender

“Most women get affected by AIDS from their husbands,” said Khamis. “The inequality between men and women, and women’s [lack of] access to correct information and services is wrong.

“For example, a married woman can’t ask her husband to get tested for HIV, or ask him to change his high-risk behaviour,” Khamis said, as this can be seen as disrespectful.

He called for “empowering women inside a marriage.”

Sensitivity

Khamis said UNAIDS in Egypt tries to works subtly in order not to cross societal and traditional red lines.

“Talking about it openly is usually very difficult… We try to raise awareness through several campaigns and outreach programs to ladies belonging to high-risk age groups, or work within relevant campaigns such as these addressing maternal and child health.”
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:53 - GMT 10:53
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