UNICEF and HIV/AIDS in Yemen [Archives:2004/770/Health]

September 6 2004

By Akram Ali Al-Hindi
For the Yemen Times

It is true that Yemen is a country in which the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is low, but it is also true that it is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to increasing numbers of HIV cases.
Yes, I am sure of that! One might ask how do you know? The answer is a very simple one; we have visitors from abroad, and we have refuges from the horn of Africa who are HIV positive and they spread the disease to other people through unsafe sex and bad behaviors that increases the danger of the spread of the disease in our country.
The minister of Public Health and Population announced in an interview with Al Thawrah daily Newspaper on June 29th 2004 that the official number of HIV/AIDS cases in Yemen was only 1,430 by the end of the year 2003.
But when asked about the way they discovered the cases he answered
“The cases were discovered in the central laboratory or at hospitals, because we do not have the right to stop people and ask them to undergo AIDS tests.”
The number is really low, but you would agree with me that the number is not the right number (correct me if I am wrong)?

To fight the disease and to try putting an end to the suffering, UNICEF and other donors are exerting great effort to stop the spread of this disease in our country. I was invited to the last workshop organized by UNICEF for the training of trainers, during which two Lebanese experts came to Yemen to teach 35 Participants about the Youth Peer Education and Life-Skills Manual. The aim was an awareness campaign for youth care-takers, and now UNICEF believes the time has come to deal directly with the youth.
The group of 35 training trainers who participated were 17 Females and 16 males. They were from five different governorates: Sana'a, Aden, Taiz, Hadhramout and Hodeidah, and were selected from various governmental and non-governmental organizations and International Organizations working in Yemen.
Dr. Solof Ramarson of UNICEF said “this workshop is another important contribution to the prevention of HIV infection among adolescents and young people, one of our strategic priorities, and in fact our main priority on HIV/AIDS in Yemen”.

Increasing efforts should be exercised to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Yemen, and I am sure with little comprehensive effort Yemen would be capable of ending this crisis or at least limiting the number of new infections.

Youth care-takers and mosque orators must educate people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS, and the main reasons leading to its infection.
I am sure true Moslems, and appropriate behavior, will keep us all save from HIV/AIDS.