Egypt offers free and anonymous HIV testing on International AIDS Day

Ahram Online , Tuesday 1 Dec 2020

The move comes on International AIDS Day, which was first launched in 1988 to raise awareness about the life-threatening disease

Marking International AIDS Day, Egypt's health ministry announced on Tuesday that it is offering free and confidential HIV tests at examination and counselling centres in all of the country's 27 governorates.

Health Minister Hala Zayed said that combating the disease has become more challenging amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic globally.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Egyptian government has been keen to continue to provide health services for all patients, especially those with chronic diseases, including AIDS patients, Zayed told a scientific gathering on Tuesday held to mark the event.

International AIDS Day was first launched on 1 December 1988 to raise awareness about the life-threatening disease.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organisation called on global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to maintain essential HIV services during COVID-19 and beyond.

Minister Zayed assured that Egypt is committed to achieving the global strategic objectives in combating AIDS, which is part of the third goal of the sustainable development strategy to put an end to the illness by 2030.

As part of its efforts to combat the disease, Egypt established the National Program to Combat AIDS almost 25 years ago when the first cases of HIV infection were detected domestically in 1986, Zayed noted, adding these efforts have kept Egypt with a low rate of HIV infection.

According to the UNAIDS's latest figures in 2019, around 38 million people are living with HIV around the world. UNAIDS classifies Egypt as among the lowest countries with AIDS infection rate.

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