Saudi Arabia fully engaged in fight against Aids

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Some men prefer to be homeless rather than tell their families

Manama, Nov 16 – Several Saudi parents and their children are living with HIV after being infected due to negligence and lack of knowledge, the head of an association dedicated to assisting patients has said.

“Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids) is prevalent among the elderly, especially those in their 50s and 60s, as the younger generation are better aware of the disease,” Humood Al Qadeemi, the executive director of Manaa, said. “Most women contracted it through intercourse with their husbands. Men make up almost 60 per cent of those who communicate with the association, compared with 40 per cent of the women,” he was quoted by Saudi daily Al Marsad as saying on Wednesday.

Many men who discover they have Aids go into shock and do not go home, preferring not to inform their families about their condition.

“Some choose to live in public parks in order to avoid being shamed by relatives or friends,” Al Qadeemi added.

The association was set up to provide physical, social and psychological support for those affected, he said.

“It receives Aids cases and is keen to protect the privacy of those who knock on its door asking for help. Those who approach the association are from all walks of life, and include men, women and children born to HIV positive mothers.”

Al Qadeemi said some men refuse any kind of financial assistance and their only request is to find wives who would accept them.

“We do not ask questions about private lives, but the data we have indicates that most HIV cases were the result of sexual relations abroad,” Al Qadeemi said.

Last year, the Ministry of Health said there were more than 1,000 Aids cases in Saudi Arabia.

Figures released by the ministry revealed 1,191 people living with the Aids virus in 2015.

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