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260 Jordanians are diagnosed with AIDS — health official

By Maram Kayed - May 01,2019 - Last updated at May 01,2019

AMMAN — Around 260 Jordanians are currently diagnosed with AIDS, according to a survey by the Ministry of Health on communicable diseases.

Director of the Ministry of Health’s communicable diseases department Nashaat Taani said the survey was released in December last year, adding that “no additional cases have been discovered since then”.

“So the number is reflective of the situation up to now,” Taani told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

Out of the 260 citizens, 229 are currently receiving free treatment at various medical centres across the Kingdom, he added.

When asked about the cost of treatment, Taani stopped short from giving exact figures but only said, “It differs from patient to another, but AIDS treatment is definitely very expensive, given that prescription drugs that slow the disease’s progression cost $1,000 to $3,000 on average.”

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the most recent published estimate of lifetime HIV treatment cost was $379,670.

“The treatment is offered to citizens for free while foreigners are deported immediately,” Taani said.

“As soon as a [citizen] patient is diagnosed, we refer him to the nearest health clinic and track his latest activities lest he had accidently communicated the disease to someone else,” added Taani.

He noted that the treatment is “highly effective” and that “many patients live long lives after receiving it”.

Preferring to be referred to by her first name only, Hiyam, a doctor at the communicable diseases department, said the number of patients recorded in Jordan, both dead and alive, is around 450.

“We are one of the countries with the lowest AIDS rates in the world,” she added.

Hiyam and Taani both agreed that those who contract the disease mostly do so through sexual intercourse and not through infected needles or other publicly-shared items.

“Thankfully, health clinics and other public places in Jordan follow a strict hygienic code when it comes to items allocated for multiple-time usage, and most use disposables,” concluded Hiyam.

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