Despite being among the least affected countries, Saudi Arabia underscores fight against AIDS
Saudi Arabia has affirmed its keenness on protecting the health of all people living on its territories, including those who have contracted the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
In a speech delivered during a General Assembly session to discuss the implementation of the political declaration on HIV/AIDS, Charge d'Affaires at Saudi Arabia's permanent delegation to the United Nations in New York Mohammed Al-Atiq outlined various preventive measures and treatment programs adopted by the Kingdom to combat the disease.
Al-Atiq gave a glimpse of Saudi Arabia's history in fighting the disease, saying it has initiated the National Program to Combat AIDS in 1994 with 20 branches inside the country.
He explained that the program provides all services including measures to prevent the transmission of the virus, in addition to the necessary treatment as well as psychological and social support to AIDS victims.
The program also creates awareness among all members of society, including mothers and children, on the symptoms of the disease and how it is spread.
Al-Atiq shed light on the reforms adopted by the Kingdom in 2018 to help HIV/AIDS patients, including steps to protect their rights.
He drew attention to the fact that the system allows pregnant women who are HIV positive to abort their pregnancy or deprive them of the right to take direct care of their infants.
Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is among the countries with the least rate of AIDS, its laws and systems bar any act that constitutes discrimination against those afflicted by the disease.
Saudi Arabia is committed to implement every national plan and legislation to protect the rights of its nationals or expatriates living on its territories, Al-Atiq said, adding that it also supports regional and international strategies aiming to eradicate AIDS by 2030 in a way that complies with its legislative and national frameworks and religious and cultural values.
The AIDS pandemic is responsible for more than 13,000 deaths around the world every week.