Over two million Mozambicans living with HIV
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.