The Coordinator of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) care and treatment at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, yesterday disclosed that, on average, more than two million people in Rwanda go for HIV testing every year.
In an interview with The New Times, Nsanzimana said that a number of strategies are being implemented to ensure that more people test to find out their HIV status.
“For example, from July 2010 to 2011 in June, 2, 076, 398 people sought VCT services at our different health centres across the country,” he said adding that this is a major improvement considering that only 178,347 people were tested.
He said that Community Health Workers (CHW’s) spread across the country play a crucial a role in creating awareness about the plight of HIV /AIDS and encouraging people to go for testing.
“CHW’s are sensitising people about the scourge. We are also facilitating people to test for HIV/AIDS; services that are offered free of charge,” Nsanzimana said.
According to the official, most of the population is aware of the disease, how to prevent transmission and what to do once infected.
Nsanzimana said that they were also offering help to those living with HIV AIDS by providing them with Anti-Retro Viral Treatment (ART’s).
“Ninety three percent of the infected have access to ART’s. Taking ART’s also reduces the chances of transmitting the virus to someone else though they still can infect others. That’s why we are encouraging the infected to take ART’s as prescribed,”Nsanzimana said.
He said this as a report released by the UNAIDS this week indicate that globally, infections reduced by at least 21 percent from 1997.
The organisation says reductions have been fuelled by a major expansion in access to treatment.
Basing on the report, the Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, said many countries are on the verge of a significant breakthrough as there is a massive scale up in access to HIV treatment.
The AIDS prevalence rate in Rwanda remains at three percent since 2005 but according to Nsanzimana, there are no recent statistics to back this claim.