Under the title 'Know, Check, We Will Stay By Your Side,' events marking International AIDS Day have kicked off in Egypt with the aim of encouraging citizens living with the virus to perform medical checkups and receive appropriate and discrete treatment.
The events mark 30 years since the launch of International AIDS Day in 1988.
The head of the Preventive Medicine Department at Egypt's Ministry of Health Alaa Eid said that the UNAIDS' latest figures classify Egypt as among the lowest countries with AIDS infection rate at 0.02 percent (approximately 20,000 out of a population of 100 million).
UNAIDS is a joint United Nations programme on HIV and AIDS, forming a coalition between 11 entities, many of which took part in helping coordinate and build capacity for assessing the situation of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Egypt and providing them with help and solutions to the many obstacles they face in the community.
The Country Manager of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in Egypt, Ahmed Khamis, affirmed the ongoing cooperation with the country's national programme against AIDS.
Khamis said that the programme cooperates with the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population through the National AIDS Programme in implementing its plans to gradually reduce the rate of infection and expand the treatment circle for people living with the virus provided by the ministry through the government budget free of charge to those infected and combating discrimination.
Khamis said that around 9.4 million people are infected with AIDS globally.
National HIV/AIDS Programme Manager Walid Kamal revealed that 24 centres located in 18 Egyptian governorates currently offer HIV counselling services and anonymous testing.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt Randa Abou Al-Hassan stated that despite the availability of a wider array of HIV tools and strategies, "the world is still profoundly off-track to end AIDS by 2030,” Abou Al-Hassan said, citing inequality and social stigma as the main reasons.
In 2012 and 2013, new cases of AIDS discovered in Egypt increased to 600 new cases yearly, and in 2014, the number of new cases reached 880 due to an international surge by a whopping 300 percent in infections annually from 2001 to 2011.
According to the National Aids Programme, 1,550 citizens were infected with AIDS in Egypt in 2005.