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Tue 30 Jun 2009 02:59 PM

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Saudi HIV cases rise to almost 14,000

Some 1,274 cases of HIV reported last year, Jeddah registers most new infections.

The number of HIV cases in Saudi Arabia rose by 1,274 to 13,926 last year, with the Jeddah district registering the highest number of new infections, the country’s National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) has said.

Out of those infected in 2008, 505 people were Saudi nationals and 769 were expatriates, the director of NACP, Dr Khaled Bin Ali Al Talhy, told Saudi daily Al Watan.

Out of the 13,926 cases that have been reported in the Kingdom in total, 3,538 are Saudis and 10,388 are expatriates.

However, the real number could be significantly higher than that due to the social stigma associated with the virus, and legislation that requires expatriates who contract the disease to leave the country.

The Jeddah district had the highest percentage of cases discovered in 2008, according to the report.

NACP said it distributes SAR18m ($4.8m) in grants each year to research and awareness programmes.

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