ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Health authorities in Baghdad on Saturday warned of the increasing number of people in the province infected with HIV and called on the government to take preventive measures through the media to stop the spread of the disease in the Iraqi capital.
“So far, the number of people living with AIDS [in Baghdad] has risen to six this year,” Jasab Latif al-Hajami, Director General of the health department in Baghdad’s Karkh district, told reporters.
The recorded cases include both Iraqi and foreign nationals, Hajami added. He did not disclose the nationality of foreigners infected with the virus.
The Iraqi official called on authorities in Baghdad to take “preventive measures” and raise social awareness through the media to end the spread of the disease in the capital, in particular, and the country, in general.
In 2017, Baghdad alone recorded 27 HIV cases, among them were four foreign citizens.
Iraqi officials have said the alarming rise in the number of people suffering from the disease is mainly due to massage centers that offer sexual services and brothels in different cities across the country.
According to the World Health Organization, some 36.7 million people are living with AIDS worldwide.
Kurdistan Region Health Minister Rekawt Hamarashid previously announced that no cases of HIV/AIDS had been registered in Kurdistan in 2017.
“Fortunately, so far in the Kurdistan Region, the prevalence of the disease remains very low,” Hamarashid wrote on his official Facebook last December to mark World AIDS Day.
“Over the past 30 years, only 26 cases have been registered among the people of the [Kurdistan] Region, and the infection has killed five people,” he added.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany