HMC marks World AIDS Day with series of events
04 Dec 2017 - 11:23
Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Communicable Disease Center (CDC) has marked World AIDS Day 2017 with a series of educational events and activities designed to inform the public and medical community about the disease and ways it can be prevented.
There are nearly 40 million people globally living with HIV/AIDS, with around one third being unaware 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’s Head of Infectious Diseases and AIDS Program Manager, Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, said the main mode of HIV transmission in Qatar is through sexual intercourse with HIV-infected people without knowing that they are infected.
“We have seen an increase in the number of new infections this year and it is mainly amongst 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 of treatment. Through education and awareness we can help end the disease,” Dr Al Khal said.
To mark World AIDS Day 2017, HMC also held a symposium for healthcare professionals centered 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 Program focusing on raising awareness of the virus as well as providing comprehensive care to affected individuals living in Qatar,” said Dr. Al Khal.
“Under the national program, anyone living in Qatar who is diagnosed with HIV is given the appropriate counseling and the most advanced treatment available,” Dr. Al Khal said. “They are also assured of confidentiality and support.”
Working in collaboration with the Behavioral Healthcare Center, experts from HMC will be visiting high schools and universities in Qatar over the next 12 months as part of their awareness efforts. “We are pleased to be working with HMC and the experts from the CDC to speak with students about the prevention of AIDS,” said Mr. Rashid Al Naimi, General Manager of the Center. “Awareness of how the disease is transmitted and ways you can 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.