RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, March 5 (UPI) -- Some 350 cases of AIDS
were registered in Saudi Arabia last year, many of them young
men who were treated by local healthcare providers, news
reports said Tuesday.
The al Watan newspaper quoted the president of the contagious
diseases department at King Saud University in Riyadh, Dr.
Abdullah Akeel, as saying patients were treated immediately
after they were diagnosed with the disease.
"Lab tests and the count of immunity cells, in addition to the
level of the virus in the blood, determine the kind of
treatment the patient has to receive," Akeel said.
He said the cost of treatment was high, ranging from $26,600 to
$40,000 annually per person, excluding laboratory tests and
clinical visits. The majority of the AIDS patients are young
men between 20 and 45 years. Some of the cases have been
managed successfully over the past 10 years because effective
medicines are available in the country.
Akeel said it was difficult to estimate the period of
treatment, which depends on many factors, including the
patient's response to the medicine and the level of the virus
in the blood.
"There is a particular kind of the AIDS virus which is very
dangerous and causes blindness, after which the patient might
live between six to 12 months, but that is changing now due to
the progress in the treatment of the virus achieved in the past
four years," Akeel said.
HIV, which causes AIDS, is commonly transmitted through the
exchange of bodily fluids.
"The partners of AIDS patients, whether men or a women, should
be fully aware of the consequences in the future," Akeel said.