April 1, 2005
Six thousand HIV/AIDS patients living in Benin will free receive antiretroviral drugs by the end of year under a government program, the Health Ministry in the West African state announced Wednesday. Benin has an estimated 71,900 people living with HIV, Health Ministry statistics show. More than 48 percent are women ages 15-49. AIDS has claimed the lives of more than 41,000 people since the country's first case in 1985. "This decision will permit a stabilization in the state of health of people living with HIV/AIDS, bring back patients lost to treatment, and create a keen interest within the population for voluntary testing campaigns," said Dr. Jean Luc Mintchedji, an immunology specialist.