The number of people living with HIV/AIDS has reduced from 191,437 in 2006 to184,859 in 2007, a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) country progress report has said.
The report was presented Wednesday to a forum of NGOs at Alpha Palace Hotel. It was to show NGOs what was achieved and exchange ideas on the findings. It says that despite the decrease, the percentage of young women infected with HIV remains high and has continued to increase.
The numbers stand at 3.7 percent among the15-19 age group, and 2.5 percent (20-24). 2005 statistics were 0.6 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. Women aged 30-34 are more greatly affected, with a prevalence of between 4.9 percent and 6.8 percent.
Substantial differences in prevalence were found between men and women when the survey was conducted in 2005. HIV prevalence among men was 2.3 and 3.6 among women.
“A complex combination of social, economic and biological factors increases the vulnerability of women to HIV”, the report reads in part.
“Given the increasing feminization of the epidemic in sub Sahara Africa, examination of these factors in the local context and appropriate targeted intervention is critical”, it continued.
“HIV/AIDS is everyone’s concern because it is among things that hinder development”, said Fulgence Afrika, the director of planning, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of programmes.
Among the issues that were tackled are prevention and ways to make people access retroviral drugs, he said. He also said that over 14,000 people in the country were on retroviral drugs adding that those taking the medicine have access to it without pay.
Afrika said that children are normally victims of the parents’ ignorance. Most of the children don’t access the medicine because their parents don’t take them for blood tests and others are born outside hospitals. He urged parents to give birth from hospitals and to take their children for testing.
“There are many children who die from HIV/AIDS because they don’t get medicine, yet many people live longer than they would when they take ARVs),” Afrika said.