Efforts to halve HIV prevalence need everyone’s support

The government’s ambitious targets to halve HIV/Aids prevalence rate by 2012 that were reported about in the Tuesday edition of this newspaper, comes just days after Rwanda made a new commitment to donors to fight the disease.

The government’s ambitious targets to halve HIV/Aids prevalence rate by 2012 that were reported about in the Tuesday edition of this newspaper, comes just days after Rwanda made a new commitment to donors to fight the disease.

The visit, this week, by Dr Michel Kazatchkine, the top Global Fund official, paved the way for the signing of a $379 million grant, which will help Rwanda fight HIV/Aids and other related killer diseases, including Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Officials affirmed that the money would facilitate government activities and its partners to scale up funding for care and treatment of HIV/Aids and will be implemented through both the public and private institutions, as well as the civil society.

The scale-up in international and national investment in HIV treatment has, in most cases, yielded concrete and measurable results in this fight.

The investment in fighting new infections and treating those who are sick is worthwhile. According to data issued by the Ministry of Health, current estimates of HIV prevalence in the country are recorded at 3 percent, with about 180,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, including 22,000 children.

Even with these relatively small figures, investment will be useless without the support of all stakeholders and the entire population. Campaigns need social and traditional innovations and change of behavior right from the grassroots.

Some of these approaches have been successful in promoting a global movement around HIV/Aids, which simultaneously transformed mainstream control-based approaches to public health.

We, therefore, call upon all stakeholders to join hands and support the government initiative because, at the end of the day, all Rwandans will be winners.

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