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Syrian AIDS patients suffer in silence

The Ministry of Health is withholding information about the situation of Syria's AIDS patients, many of whom are trapped in war-torn areas without access to services.
Workers and members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent unload boxes of humanitarian and medical aid in the rebel-controlled area of Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah  (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR4BWB4
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DAMASCUS, Syria — In an atmosphere of official secrecy in which data is limited on patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and their ability to get treatment, Al-Monitor was able to get some information through health industry sources, one of whom works at the infectious disease control center and another at the Ministry of Health.

Jamal Khamis, the director of the National Program for Combating AIDS at the infectious disease control center, which works in cooperation with the Syrian Health Ministry, revealed in his latest statement to the Baath newspaper in February that by the end of 2014, 833 AIDS cases were recorded in Syria, mainly in Damascus and its countryside. He also noted that only 154 Syrian AIDS patients receive treatment for free, while the price of each medication refill is more than many of the rest can pay.

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