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United Arab Emirates establishes committee to develop HIV/AIDS strategy

June 11, 2010

The United Arab Emirates has established a committee to develop a national HIV/AIDS control and prevention strategy, Nada Al Marzouqi, National AIDS Program manager at the Ministry of Health, said recently, the Khaleej Times reports.

The committee will include members from the Health Ministry, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, the private health sector and other health agencies in the country. It aims to provide workers in a variety of health care facilities with guidelines to help prevent HIV cases. According to Al Marzouqi, the strategy also seeks to efficiently implement HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs on national and international levels.

"The UAE has one of the lowest numbers of reported HIV/AIDS cases in the world, and there is no current increase in the cases of HIV," Al Marzouqi said. She added, "Today, HIV testing is provided in various clinics across the country, and it is also performed as part of premarital testing for infectious diseases."

In addition, Al Marzouqi said that although UAE's national strategy is in the early development stages, the National Program for AIDS Control and Prevention has been in place since 1985. "The main objective of the NPACP program when it first started in 1985 was the screening of blood, blood products, organs and tissues before transfusion or transplantation," she said, adding, "No cases of transmission through blood or blood products have been recorded since the program's inception."

Official figures show that 540 people were living with HIV/AIDS in the country by the end of 2006, and the number of recorded new cases is about 35 annually, Al Marzouqi said.

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