Libya marks World AIDS Day

Tripoli- Libya (PANA) -- Use of contaminated syringes by drug users remains the main source of HIV/AIDS infection in Libya, official sources in Tripoli said on Tuesday.
It represents between 50 and 80 per cent of new cases of AIDS recorded in Libya, which has 11,152 HIV/AIDS infected people, or a prevalence rate of 0.
3%, according to the Director of the AIDS Control Department at the Libyan National Centre for the Fight and Prevention of Transmitted and Endemic Diseases, Dr Hussein Ben Othmane.
In an interview with PANA in Tripoli during the commemoration of World AIDS Day, Dr Othmane said although this prevalence rate was one of the lowest in Africa, it hid some alarming disparities in regions such as Kouffra in the south-east where the rate had reached 0.
He also affirmed that new cases of HIV/AIDS have over the past five years recorded a decreasing curve.
From 1,238 in 2003, this figure went down to 590 in 2004, 422 in 2005, 413 in 2006, 366 in 2007 and 303 in 2008.
Touching on the efforts of the Department in the fight the pandemic, Dr Othmane said Libya was currently focusing on the establishment of a national AIDS control strategy in collaboration with the University of Liverpool in Great Britain, within the framework of cooperation between Libya and the European Union.
He said the department had acted in line with a national AIDS control programme that was established since 1987 following the creation of the Libyan Centre for Transmitted and Endemic disease Prevention and Control.
The first goal of this national plan, he added, was to make the Libyan people aware of the transmission modes of the disease and means of protecting oneself with a view to avoiding new contaminations.
Efforts were subsequently deployed towards the training of medical staff and the introduction of new cutting edge technologies in the area, namely screening laboratories.
Dr Othmane said the next phase was to prevent contamination through blood transfusion by training staff of the country's various transfusion services and providing them with the appropriate equipment, taking all precautions and making all arrangements likely to lead to the attainment of that goal.
Efforts were also focused on the sensitization of the public through campaigns targeting specific sections such as schools and prisons, and through the association of religious leaders and civil society.
It was within this framework that the AIDS control multi-sectoral committees in the municipalities in Libya were created, he said.
He also indicated that the other thrust of the national AIDS control plan rests on the fight against stigmatization and discrimination through sensitization and the provision of free health care to AIDS patients.

01 december 2009 23:05:00

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