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Aqaba workshop tackles societal attitudes towards AIDS patients

The Middle East Cultural Association | 12.04.2005 17:33 | Health

AMMAN - Addressing social stigmas faced by AIDS patients in Jordan was the focus of a three-day AIDS workshop, which started in Aqaba yesterday.

Maram Marwan, a trainer in the workshop from the Aqaba Health Department, told The Jordan Times the workshop seeks to educate participants on various issues related to AIDS, hoping to change societal attitudes towards victims of the disease.

Our society generally focuses on the stereotypical causes of AIDS, and this tendency to think of people with the disease as social outcasts undermines their suffering, Marwan said. The Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted Basma Khreisat, director of Family Health International, as saying that reported AIDS cases in the Kingdom now totalled 386, 196 of them Jordanian.

The workshop, organised by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with Family Health International and supported by USAID, is part of a national programme to combat the spread of AIDS. Local and foreign experts from various fields participated in the event as well as representatives from the public sector and the local community in Aqaba.

Aqaba was the chosen location for the workshop because its popularity as an international tourism destination heightens the chances of local residents being exposed to the HIV virus, Marwan said. According to Marwan, the Ministry of Health is planning to set up a guidance centre and a hotline for those with HIV/AIDS in Aqaba. Similar centres and hotlines were established in Amman, Zarqa and Irbid.

She added that the Ministry of Health offers free check-ups and treatment for AIDS patients, including counselling on how to live with the disease.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 The Jordan Times

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