There are 22 people in the country receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was first detected in the Maldives in 1991.

According to statistics released by the HPA on World AIDS Day, 40 people, including six women and 34 men, have been infected with the disease in Maldives as of 2022. While 15 lives have succumbed to the disease, 22 are currently undergoing treatment, the report said. The report was unclear on the status of the remaining three.

HIV is treated with antiretrovirals, which work by halting the replication of the virus within the body. This, in turn, allows the immune system to repair itself and prevent further damage.

HIV treatment has been available in Maldives since 2004 and is delivered free. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, for patients who do not have HIV but are at risk of getting HIV, is also available.

The theme of this year’s AIDS Day, marked on 1 December, is “Let Communities Lead.”

The HPA said the slogan aims to encourage the public to take the initiative in AIDS treatment, provide necessary services to those living with HIV/AIDS, and support individuals coping with the disease.

HPA, Kulhudhuffushi Regional Hospital, Kulhudhuffushi City Council, Society for Health Education, Mission for Migrants Maldives, Vibe Youth, and Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital are conducting various activities in connection with World AIDS Day.