22,000 people living with AIDS in Egypt: Health ministry

On the occasion of World AIDS Day on 1 December, the country’s National AIDS Programme (NAP) put on a joint event in Cairo with UNAIDS Egypt.

Director of the NAP Heba El-Sayed stated that there was a gap between the number of HIV-positive people and the number of registered AIDS patients in Egypt, explaining that the number of detected HIV cases increased 20-25 percent annually.

According to the UNAIDS Egypt estimates in 2021, there are between 28,000-34,000 adults and children living with HIV.

El-Sayed added that the distribution of HIV infections are currently concentrated among young people.

There has been a decline in the number of cases in children younger than five-years-old thanks to a Ministry of Health programme to detect the infection early on in pregnant women and prevent the infection from reaching the fetus.

However, El-Sayed also revealed the HIV infection rate in the 14-25 age range has increased.

Head of Therapeutic Medicine Sector in the Ministry of Health Hazem El-Feel addressed the event on behalf of Minister of Health Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, saying that in 2022 the ministry was able to provide for the first time a new type of medicine to treat HIV-positive children.

He also revealed that the medicines used by 97 percent of HIV-positive patients in the country are manufactured locally.

UNICEF classifies Egypt as a country with “low HIV prevalence country,” with cases concentrated among people who inject drugs and men-who-have-sex-with men in Cairo and Alexandria.

To combat the HIV epidemic, the health ministry established the NAP more than 35 years ago when the first cases of HIV infection were detected in 1986.