The City of Kigali and its partners have committed to reducing HIV/AIDS prevalence under a new strategic plan to fight the disease.
The HIV Strategic Plan to be implemented in the next five years is expected to reduce the 6.3 per cent prevalence since the last survey in 2015.
“We showed our partners the five-year strategic plan of fighting HIV and the activities planned. We have also implementation plans designed for every urban district. We hope the number will decrease if we put more efforts in campaign activities,” said Patricia Muhongerwa, City of Kigali vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs.
She said they will also focus on key populations, including sex workers, who are many in the CoK.
The survey showed that one in two sex workers doesn’t have any information about HIV/AIDS, while 55 per cent of them in the city are infected with HIV and AIDS.
“We have to check prostitution in order to limit new infections. The only way to achieve it is to approach sex workers and have deep discussions with them. They are young girls and boys who should be good citizens and leaders of tomorrow,” she said.
Muhammed Semakure, Strategic Advisor, HIV National Strategic and Operational plan at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, said the Government has various programmes to prevent new HIV infections.
“Firstly, we put more efforts in testing to help people know their status in order to take ARVs as early as possible. For now, we have new strategy of self-testing for people who fear to go to public facilities for testing,” he said.
“There are other programmes designed for sex workers like monitoring, in which sex partners of people who tested positive are helped to know their HIV status as early as possible”.
When the programme of condom kiosks started, they chose a few hotspots but now the aim in the new strategic plan is to increase them to all areas where they are needed, he said.
Dr Betru Woldesemayat, UNAIDS Country Director, commended Rwanda’s strong leadership and commitment to advance the Fast Track agenda towards ending AIDS by 2030.
“The purpose of Fast Track Cities Initiative is to encourage countries and cities to take concrete actions that lead to reaching the global treatment targets of 90-90-90 by year 2020,” he said.
90-90-90 means at least 90 per cent of all people living with HIV know their positive status, 90 per cent of seropositive people receive treatment, while 90 per cent with HIV are no longer infectious.
“The high rate of urbanisation comes with many challenges as well as opportunities in HIV response. Fast-tracking HIV prevention and treatment services in the City of Kigali can reach large numbers of people in cost effective ways,” he said.