World AIDS Day: Rwanda’s prevalence rate still at 3%

L-R: US Ambassador to Rwanda Peter Vrooman, Minister of State for public and primary healthcare, Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, and Northern Province Governor Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi as Rwanda marked the World AIDS Day in Musanze District on Friday. Régis Umurengezi.

As the world marked World AIDS Day yesterday, Government and stakeholders have called on everyone to go for HIV/AIDS screening to help citizens and the country to plan accordingly, as the country’s prevalence rate was revealed to still be at 3%.

The day was observed at Ubworoherane Stadium in Musanze District under the theme; “Stop HIV spread. Get tested and strive to remain healthy.”

Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) yesterday unveiled a six-month campaign that will encourage voluntary HIV testing for all citizens across the country.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of state for Public and Primary Health, Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi said that the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is still at 3 percent since 2005 and this has been achieved because of the numerous strategies in place including education and behavioral change.

He stressed that the government looks forward to achieve the 90% target of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) of ending HIV/AID by 2030 and stressed that testing for the disease by every citizen will be a catalyst in meeting this target.

“We call upon all Rwandans who have not tested HIV this year to test and know their status especially if they have been sexually active,” Ndimubanzi added

Dr Brenda Asiimwe, the country programme manager at AIDS Healthcare Foundation Rwanda (AHF), said this year’s country theme is timely because although a lot of progress has been registered in the fight against HIV, there are still specific groups that do not go for HIV testing.

“This theme calls for everyone to know their status, and start treatment immediately if they are HIV positive, currently almost all the health centres offer HIV testing,” Asiimwe said.

She advised that people who test HIV positive should immediately start treatment to ensure a healthy life that will enable them to provide for their families

Fodé Ndiaye, the UN Resident Coordinator observed that as the World celebrates World AIDS Day, there was need to applaud the progress made in responding to HIV, to recommit to ending HIV and to empower people living with HIV.