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82 HIV infections diagnosed in Palestine since 1988

Nov. 27, 2013 2:41 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 28, 2013 1:32 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – Despite the fact that HIV infection rate in Palestine is among the lowest in the world, the Palestinian Ministry of Health is exerting major efforts to control the virus while protecting the privacy of patients.

The ministry has been working to try and completely eliminate the virus in Palestine, according to Dr Asaad Ramlawi, the chief of a Palestinian national committee for fighting AIDS.

Speaking to Ma'an Tuesday evening, Ramlawi says there have been only 82 HIV cases diagnosed in Palestine since 1988.

Some patients have died while others are still receiving treatment, he added, highlighting that in general the majority of patients testing HIV positive are infected as a result of unsafe sexual practices.

Records, he added, show that the majority of HIV patients live in low- and middle-income countries, "though the disease is still a threat to humans all over the world."

Ramlawi added that 30 Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have the virus that causes AIDS and are still alive receiving treatment for free, including all tests and medical procedures.

Each year, he said, the ministry diagnoses one to three cases of HIV. Two have been diagnosed so far in 2013.

The director of Bethlehem's office of the ministry Dr Muhammad Riziq says studies carried out in the West Bank and Jerusalem suggest that drug use could be a main local cause of HIV infection.

Addicts, he said, could become infected through sharing or using contaminated syringes.
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