For the 14th year in a row, the Standing Committee On Sexual & Reproductive health (SCORA) of The Lebanese Medical Students’ International Committee (LeMSIC) is organizing its annual fundraising event on December 14 at the AUB’s Assembly Hall. In addition to raising awareness, all proceeds of the concert will go to HIV/AIDS patients in need. As a part of LeMSIC, a non-profit student organization that serves medical students from different universities across the country, SCORA aims to raise awareness about reproductive health and HIV/AIDS among the Lebanese population, and the youth in particular.
“We have noted that our peers still lack knowledge about sexual health including HIV/AIDS so we chose to promote education and prevention from STIs [sexually transmitted infections] through this annual event. We also aim to support our CD4 Count Fund to help hospitals and patients in need” LeMSIC’s National Officer on Reproductive Health Nohra Ghaoui told Beirut.com. According to the Ministry of Public Health, approximately 4000 people are currently reported to be living with HIV/AIDS in Lebanon. The rates of infection have been increasing over the past few years, with around 150 new infections per year.
“People living with HIV/AIDS in Lebanon face multiple obstacles. Not only are they discriminated against on the social, professional, and healthcare levels, but they also bear a significant financial burden when it comes to covering the expenses of their medical follow-up,” Ghaoui explained.
“And although the Ministry of Health provides patients with free medication, it does not cover any of their medical tests, including the CD4 Count test, which is an expensive, yet essential test that HIV+ patients need to undergo every few months to monitor the progress of their infection,” he added.
The idea of a concert stemmed a few years back in order to fulfill the above mentioned awareness and fundraising purposes. Thirteen concerts have taken place so far, starting back in 2002. Previous concerts featured artists like Poly, Adonis, Tania Saleh, Meen, Mashrou’ Leila, The Chehade Brothers, Ziad Sahhab, Charbel Rouhana and Guy Manoukian.
“Throughout the years, we witnessed an increase in the number of attendees. We discovered that people are getting more acquainted with our cause. Our ultimate target would be for Lebanon to become a country where HIV meets a cutback in its prevalence rather than an escalation of its occurrence,” Ghaoui told Beirut.com.
Tickets will be sold at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Université Saint Joseph (USJ), University of Balamand (UOB), Lebanese American University (LAU) and Beirut Arab University (BAU). LeMSIC students will also be touring the streets of Hamra and Mar Mikhael.