PAHO urges testing as first step towards halting the AIDS epidemic

PAHO urges testing as first step towards halting the AIDS epidemic

Only 50% of the nearly 37 million people living with HIV are receiving life sustaining HIV antiretrovirals.

Significant progress has been made in the AIDS response since 1988, and today three in four people living with HIV know their status. The aim of the event was to sensitize people from all walks of life on HIV/AIDS and motivate them to come forward and get tested to know about their HIV status while ensuring that all HIV positive cases are put on treatment. The virus can be also transmitted from mother to child.

Saturday marks World's Aids Day which falls on December 1 every year.

Okoro recalled that in 2016, no fewer than 1.4 million people were tested and became aware of their HIV status.

PAHO urges testing as first step towards halting the AIDS epidemic
PAHO urges testing as first step towards halting the AIDS epidemic

In commemoration of 2018 World AIDS day, Lagos State Government has urged residents to know their HIV status and desist from all forms of discrimination against patients.

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.

"Many of those who are being left behind are those who are more affected by HIV including people who use drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and prisoners".

"So, with a loud voice, we're calling on every Nigerian to submit himself or herself to get tested for HIV so as to know whether they are positive or negative to the virus".

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"We must look at HIV prevention and testing in the context of a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health services and information".

The good news is that there are many new ways of expanding access to HIV testing.

"Reducing new HIV infections is key to accelerating the response to HIV/AIDS in the Americas", said Dr. Espinal.

In order to step up efforts towards ending AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2030, PAHO/WHO, along with UNAIDS, recommends the implementation of combination HIV prevention, which is a person-centred approach that combines biomedical and behavioural interventions with measures that foster an enabling environment to overcome access barriers to health care.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has charged African Governments to improve funding support for HIV testing, care and treatment.

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