A Saudi health official says 1,121 new HIV cases were detected in the kingdom last year.
The official Saudi Press Agency quotes deputy health minister Ziyad bin Ahmed as telling an HIV/AIDS conference Monday that the new cases include 439 Saudi citizens and 682 non-Saudis.
Bin Ahmed said that since 1984, 16,334 people have tested positive for HIV, the virus associated with AIDS. Among them were 4,458 Saudis, 83 percent between the ages of 15 and 49. Men outnumbered women by a ratio of four to one
Saudi Arabia's conservative Muslim society considers talking about sex as taboo, and treats AIDS patients with contempt.
Some clerics consider the disease as God's punishment for prohibited sex.