The Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente has called for sustained efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS in order to keep the gains Rwanda registered in the fight as showcased by a recent national survey.
He was speaking in Kigali at the official launch of data from the Rwanda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (RPHIA), a recently concluded country wide survey that showcased great improvement Rwanda’s HIV fight.
Among the major figures presented by the survey, the prevalence of HIV among adult Rwandans (15-49 years old) now stands at 2.6% from the 3.3 percent in the last survey done in 2015; as that of those between 15-64 years also reduced from 3.7 to 3.0 percent.
The results of the survey also showed 76 per cent of all HIV-positive adults achieved viral load suppression, a widely used measure of effective HIV treatment in a population, a figure that surpasses the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) target of 73 per cent by 2020.
Rwanda also edged closer to the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 as the survey revealed that 83.8% of adults living with HIV were aware of their status, and of these, 97.5% were on Antiretroviral Treatment, and 90.1% had Viral Load Suppression.
Addressing the guests who had attended the launch of the new findings, Ngirente said that data indicates that Rwanda is making good progress in controlling the HIV epidemic.
“And we are confident that if we continue in this way, we will keep achieving good results,” he said.
“We are performing well in the fight against HIV. However, we need to maintain our efforts, improve on our approaches and become even more innovative in looking for better solutions.”
He zeroed in on the progress made in regard to people living with HIV increasingly getting to know their status, referring to it as “a good step in controlling HIV transmission.”
The RPHIA ran from October 2018-March 2019.
It covered over 11,000 households across the country, sampling more than 30,000 adults aged 15-64 years, and over 9,000 young adolescents aged 10-14 years.
It aimed at finding information on the percentage of people living with HIV (prevalence), the number of new HIV infections occurring each year (incidence), and the percentage of people with low levels of virus in their blood (viral load suppression), described by age, sex, and geographic variation.
The Minister of Health Dr. Diane Gashumba echoed similar sentiments as she rallied donors and partners to continue supporting the country’s efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS.
“We still have a long way to go. Sustaining gains is not easy. It is not the right time to cut the budget in supporting this.”