GCC has lowest Aids rate in Mena

Gulf countries have the lowest rate of Aids cases in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) despite a surge in the number of cases of the
killer disease through the region, a Saudi newspaper reported on Monday.

The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries also have Mena's “slowest spreading rate” in the infection of the acquired immunity
deficiency syndrome, 'Alriyadh' said, quoting Dr Tawfiq bin Ahmed Khoja, director general of the GCC health ministers’ executive bureau.

He put the rate of Aids cases in the GCC at between 1.15 and 1.95 per 100,000, according to the Arabic language daily.

“This means that the rate of Aids infection in the GCC is the lowest in the Mena region,” he said in Riyadh, where GCC nations launched an
anti-Aids campaign.

Another official said there has been a sharp increase in reported Aids cases in Mena, with the number in 2006 nearly doubling that in 2001.

“Reported cases of death caused by Aids also nearly tripled in 2009 compared with those in 2001,” said Hind Al Khateeb, regional director
for the United Nations anti-Aids programme in Mena.

The paper quoted Dr Hussein al Jazaeri, Mena director of the World Health Organisation, as saying Aids cases in the region had been
mainly caused by contaminated needles and drug injections as well as “risky” sex practises.

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