World AIDS Day: WHO Wants Governments, Donors To Continue Investing In AIDS Response In Africa
The World Health Organisation,WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti says 1.1 million people are infected with HIV every year in Africa.
Dr Moeti who stated this in a message to mark this year’s World AIDS Day observed that AIDS response funding is reducing, putting progress at risk.
“Today, I call on governments and donors to continue investing in the AIDS response in Africa. The recent replenishment of the Global Fund was a welcome demonstration of global solidarity.“
“The coverage of HIV services is still not universal – those in greatest need suffer the most. Adolescent girls and young women continue to be at higher risk of HIV infection due to gender inequalities, gender-based violence, early marriage, transactional sexual relationships and other harmful cultural practices.”
” Men are less likely to take an HIV test and to initiate HIV treatment. Most children living with HIV are not accessing treatment. Stigma and marginalization persist, especially among those at highest risk of infection.”
The Regional Director , call for more collaboration to address several challenges such as funding, treatment, Stigma and marginalization to end AIDS by 2030.
“Of the estimated 26 million people living with HIV in Africa in 2018, four out of five (81%) get tested, two out of three (64%) get treatment, and one out of two (52%) achieve viral suppression with no risk of infecting others.”
“Across the Region, new HIV infections continue to decline, and we are making progress towards elimination of maternal-to-child-transmission of HIV. “
According to her “Countries like Rwanda and South Africa have shown how trained peers or community health workers can deliver rapid diagnostic tests with same day results, enabling more people to know their HIV status. “
Community members in Benin, mentor mothers in Lesotho, adherence groups in Mozambique, community pharmacists in Nigeria, and adolescent treatment supporters in Zimbabwe continue to improve linkages to care, adherence to treatment and overall well-being of people living with HIV.
In Zambia, an intensive door-to-door effort in selected peri-urban communities by community health workers, to promote and provide a range of HIV and health services has achieved the 90-90-90 testing and treatment targets and dramatically reduced new HIV infections by 30% in the target communities.
As WHO, we recommend a mix of approaches for testing, including community-based testing, self-testing and provider-assisted referral to reach people at highest risk. We also recommend that countries train and mobilize community health workers, including people living with HIV, to provide decentralized and differentiated HIV care and treatment.
This year’s theme is “communities make the difference”, in recognition of the essential roles that local leaders, networks of people living with HIV, peer educators, community health workers, civil society organizations and grassroot activists play in the AIDS response.
On 1 December every year, the international community comes together to mark World AIDS Day.