KIGALI - As part of the continued efforts to increase condom use and availability to curb HIV prevalence, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Aurélien Agbénonci has added his voice to the on-going campaign that seeks to reduce the country’s infection rate.
In a statement issued by the United Nations country office, Agbénonci emphasizes the need to break the barriers and taboos surrounding the use of condoms as a significant measure of duo protection against sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies.
“All Rwandans have the right to know how to protect themselves and their families from HIV. With this campaign we’re encouraging everybody to talk freely about HIV protection and to promote the use of condoms as a fundamental right for all,” he said.
The official’s remarks come a few days after the launch of a national mass sensitization campaign on condom use was launched.
During the World AIDS Day commemorations that were held on Tuesday, this week, the Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Control Commission, Dr. Anita Asiimwe, noted that the rate of condom use is still low due to public perceptions that it is responsible for infidelity.
“By the end of the three-month campaign, we believe that many people will have accessed condoms for protection, especially those in the risk groups like the youth, sex workers, people with multiple partners and discordant couples,” Asiimwe told The New Times.
The UN concept note also quotes, the UN secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon saying, “The world is seeing signs of progress in reversing the AIDS epidemic in some countries.
This year, our challenge is clear: we must continue doing what works, but we must also do more, on an urgent basis, to uphold our commitment to reach universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.”
Current statistics from the National AIDS Control Commission (CNLS) show that there are 200,000 adults and children infected with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda today.
The Global AIDS Epidemic 2008 report by UNAIDS estimates 33.2 million HIV infected people around the world.
Prevalence of HIV in Rwanda is 3 percent in the general population aged 15-49.
HIV prevalence in urban areas 7.3 percent which is higher than that in rural areas where it is at 2.2 percent and HIV prevalence in women 3.6 percent higher than in men (2.3percent).