Sunday, 16 December, 2018

PAHO urges testing as first step towards halting the AIDS epidemic

Know your status: 10 facts to mark World AIDS Day World AIDS Day 2018: 'Know Your Status'
Johnnie Parks | 03 December, 2018, 06:39

HIV testing is essential for expanding treatment and ensuring that all people living with HIV can lead healthy and productive lives.

"Significant progress has been made in AIDS response since 1988 and today four in five (20.8 million) people living with HIV in the African region know their status". It is a time for people to unite in the fight against the spread of HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate friends and loved ones who lost their fight to AIDS.

She advised Lagosians and Nigerians to periodically check their status and stop discriminating HIV positive persons.

On December 1, the worldwide society observes the World AIDS day.

"In all this, we need the political will; we need the investment from governments, partners and private sectors, and most of all we need the communities to promote demand for HIV testing services".

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She said that it was also crucial to ensure that 90 per cent of people living with HIV know their status; 90 per cent of people diagnosed with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy; and 90 per cent of people living with HIV, and who are on treatment, achieve viral load suppression.

PAHO says the majority of new infections in the Region occur in gay men and other men who have sex with men, which represent 41 percent of new cases in Latin America and 23 percent in the Caribbean. The agency's also reminding people ME that HIV care and prevention have dramatically changed since the discovery of the virus in 1984, and many patients are able to live long lives.

Many people when asked about if they use protection told Joy News' Joseph Ackah Blay that stopping to put on either ruin the moment or makes sex less enjoyable. Stigma and discrimination still deters people from taking an HIV test. Access to confidential HIV testing is still an issue of concern. Globally, 15- to 24-year-old women are twice as likely as young men to be infected.

PAHO/WHO also recommends that the age at which young people can take an HIV test without the consent of a parent or guardian be reduced in line with the recommendations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In addition to the expansion of testing services, PAHO advocates for the provision of both post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for those who may have been exposed to HIV, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to those at substantial risk of infection as part of the comprehensive package of HIV prevention services. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education measures on AIDS prevention and control.

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