Over two mil­lion Mozam­bi­cans liv­ing with HIV

The Manica Post - - Foreign News / Sport -

MORE than 2,1 mil­lion peo­ple in Mozam­bique are liv­ing with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, Health Min­is­ter Nazira Ab­dula an­nounced in Ma­puto on 13 March.

Ab­dula was speak­ing at the open­ing of a na­tional meet­ing of the Pro­gramme to Con­trol Sex­u­ally Trans­mit­ted In­fec­tions and HIV and AIDS , which will as­sess the level of im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Ac­cel­er­ated Re­sponse to HIV in the 2013-2017 pe­riod.

“The most re­cent es­ti­mates in­di­cate that there are 2,1 mil­lion peo­ple in Mozam­bique liv­ing with HIV, of whom 64 per cent are aware of their HIV sta­tus. Only 54 per cent of these peo­ple are un­der­go­ing treat­ment” said Ab­dula.

The govern­ment has been seek­ing to make cit­i­zens aware of the threat and to take pre­cau­tions against the dis­ease. One of the ma­jor chal­lenges, the min­is­ter added, was to strengthen com­mu­ni­ca­tion by en­sur- ing that the mes­sages trans­mit­ted were mean­ing­ful to Mozam­bi­cans.

Ab­dula ex­pressed con­cern that men showed less in­ter­est in pur­su­ing treat­ment for HIV in­fec­tion than women. She warned that stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion re­main ma­jor prob­lems that dam­age HIV- pos­i­tive peo­ple psy­cho­log­i­cally. “These two fac­tors have led peo­ple to be afraid to look for in­for­ma­tion, ser­vices, clin­i­cal care and to adopt safer meth­ods and be­hav­iour”, she said.

“We are in favour of greater ef­fec­tive­ness in pre­ven­tive ac­tion”, said Ab­dula, “in­clud­ing re­tain­ing in treat­ment those who have al­ready be­gun anti-retro­vi­ral ther­apy. We shall con­tinue to need the in­volve­ment of the com­mu­nity and religious lead­ers in de­vel­op­ing and con­sol­i­dat­ing be­havioural prac­tices”.

The lat­est es­ti­mate for HIV preva­lence among Mozam­bi­cans aged be­tween 15 and 49 is 13.2 per cent.

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