KUWAIT CITY, Dec 13: Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Affairs at Ministry of Health Dr Majida Al-Qattan affirmed that the number of individuals living with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Kuwait reached 363 as of mid of this year, indicating that AIDS test was introduced in 1986.
She said this during a press conference organized by the ministry to announce the launch of the Kuwait 2017-2021 Anti-AIDS National Strategy, with the participation of the Permanent National Committee for fighting AIDS, which includes members from various ministries, state institutions, NGOs and civil society organizations.
Dr Al-Qattan announced that the ministry will soon introduce the Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) clinic where any individual can receive Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing and counseling services, and get instant result. She indicated that the ministry is in the process of preparing and organizing the executive mechanism in this regard. Dr Al-Qattan explained, “Kuwait is showing huge interest in fighting HIV and AIDS. It is among the first countries to issue a law concerning prevention of AIDS in 1992. The ministry is transitioning to the period where AIDS and HIV will be rare in Kuwait. In case of infection, patients will enjoy continuous health services to achieve high level of health status without any discrimination or stigmatization”.
She indicated that the strategy aims to improve the health services and develop the health level of individuals living with AIDS as well as reduce the number of infections, adding that the aim is to ensure a rate of 50 percent of the diagnosed cases by the year 2021 and maintain the rate of zero infection among children. Dr Al-Qattan said, “The strategy is also aimed at reducing the rate of discrimination and stigmatization towards people living with AIDS, as well as improve the information system and prevent any possibilities of the virus spreading to categories of people that are prone to infection”.
The strategy consists of 14 digital indexes to measure the achievement level of these objectives as well as scientific standards for measuring the feasibility of those indexes and identifying the necessary activities to achieve them. Kuwait is one of the most advanced countries in the region and North Africa in terms of anti-AIDS indexes as per the UN report of July 2017.
By Marwa Al-Bahrawi Al-Seyassah / Arab Times Staff