There should be no relenting in fight against HIV

Research findings have shown that 22 percent of discordant couples in Rwanda, infect their partners annually, with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. Discordant couples are two sexual partners who are usually in a stable monogamous relationship, in which one person is HIV-positive and the other is not. 

Research findings have shown that 22 percent of discordant couples in Rwanda, infect their partners annually, with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.

Discordant couples are two sexual partners who are usually in a stable monogamous relationship, in which one person is HIV-positive and the other is not. It is also possible that discordant couples can have unprotected sex without one infecting the other.

However, an NGO known as Project San Francisco, between 2003 and 2008, carried out research on 42,000 couples in Kigali City, who had co-habited for 4-7 years, found out that 12 percent of discordant couples continued to have unprotected sex.

Experts have concluded that once couples are aware of their status, the rate of infections would considerably drop. This makes the imperative for voluntary testing more urgent.

In Kigali City for example, very few couples have had their tests together, which leads to some, especially those who discover that they are seropositive, hiding their status from their partners.

While HIV/AIDS treatment has improved radically in Rwanda, without constant awareness, people may think the disease is a thing of the past.

There is need to understand that the disease is still with us. There is no known cure and no vaccine. About 3 million died last year worldwide.

HIV/AIDS has wreaked havoc on several economies in sub-Saharan Africa, since most of those infected fall in the productive age groups.

From the agricultural to the industrial sectors, output has declined one way or the other, because the demographic percentage involved in these sectors are either too weak to put in their best, or are dying.

All organisations involved in the fight have to step up sensitization campaigns against HIV. Apart from using the conventional media like television, radio and newspapers, our churches and mosques should also be fully involved in the campaigns, especially in remote areas.

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