Kuwait participates in HIV/AIDS conference

aidsWASHINGTON 20th November 2009: Kuwait MOH Official Dr. Hind Al-Shoumer affirmed here late Thursday that the AIDS virus continues to widely spread all over the world and more efforts should be exerted for its prevention and to spread more awareness, especially as World AIDS Day will be celebrated soon.

This came in a statement to KUNA by head of AIDS, Statistics, and Information Office at the Public Health Department in the Kuwait Ministry of Health Dr. Hind Al-Shoumer, who is taking part in the HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention international conference, who is the only Arab participant.
Speaking to KUNA, Dr. Al-Shoumer said that her participation in the conference comes in response to an invitation from the US Ambassador to Kuwait Deborah Jones.
She indicated that the conference, which is organized by the US, is attended by officials in charge of national programs to combat AIDS, as well as experts and specialists from all over the world who are specialized in this field.

The conference is considered an opportunity to exchange expertise and shed light on the experiences of countries in combating and preventing this disease, in addition to the treatments being given to patients,” she affirmed.

Several topics, she indicated, are being discussed during the conference, such as the “latest researches and studies, including the clinical tests of the AIDS vaccine,” as well as the legal aspects and the connection between the programs and human rights understandings and the equality between the genders regarding access to treatment and prevention.

Other issues discussed were the inclusion of the prevention of AIDS among the initiatives available to confront violence and the strategies adopted among populations, she added.

Dr. Al-Shoumer noted that the participants will be visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia “to have a closer look on the modern treatment techniques and be briefed on the applications and the initiatives to prevent the HIV/AIDS and spread awareness among societies,” and acknowledge the plans and strategies being adopted, in addition to the national programs for the prevention of AIDS.

Dr. Al-Shoumer stressed the importance of such conferences, especially that this virus is wide spread worldwide, despite the fact that the infection rate in Kuwait is “very low.” This conference is important as it focuses on the prevention and the awareness which we need not only in Kuwait but all over the world,” she affirmed.

She called for intensifying “our efforts to spread awareness on this virus, ” especially as we mark World AIDS Day, December 1.

Dr. Al-Shoumer said that World AIDS Day must come as a reminder that every one of us must do more to fight the spread of AIDs and HIV, especially that millions of people worldwide are living with the pandemic.
She expressed hope that in Kuwait “we establish, soon, centers for the Voluntary Counseling and Testing for HIV,” known as the VCT, which are present all over the world, “including in GCC states as it is an important step in the prevention process” to be able to have an early diagnosis of AIDS. She stressed respect of anonymity of the clients until they are tested positive as a must with any such institution.

Dr. Al-Shoumer noted that Kuwait is one of the first countries to adopt a law on the prevention of AIDS in 1992, which contains many important articles, such as “AIDS patients are granted all their rights, where the most important right is complete confidentiality,” and in Kuwait, we fully respect and protect this right of theirs.