NYABIHU — The coordinator of district Aids commission Theogen Nyirigira has called for the engagement of Genocide criminals sentenced to community service [TIG] into HIV/Aids awareness campaign.
Nyirigira said this recently in Jomba sector during the voluntary counseling and testing of over 300 convicts in Jomba solidarity camp.
He said the district would educate and encourage the group to adopt HIV preventive measures and take on voluntary testing as any other Rwandans.
“Each year from October to December the country carries out massive campaign against HIV/Aids. During this campaign we encourage and educate people on the importance of knowing their HIV status.
That is why they, just like other Rwandans should not be left out in the campaign because they are part of our society,” said Nyirigira.
Rubavu district officer in charge of good governance, Reya Uwanyirigira said that after the voluntary testing exercise, those found positive would access anti retroviral drugs to prolong their lives. She called upon the group to encourage their spouses to respond to voluntary HIV tests before they re-join with them.
“You need to avoid indulging in any activities that can lead you into contracting HIV/Aids because life will continue after TIG. Testing will help you understand your status and enhance behavior change among those who are not infected,” she said, adding that it would help those who test positive to seek timely medication.
The beneficiaries thanked district authorities for the initiative saying, knowing their Aids status would help them plan for their future.
“We are so grateful for the district’s efforts in educating us about HIV/Aids.
Many of us didn’t know our HIV status. We shall also encourage our wives to test because we don’t know how they conducted themselves during our absence,” said Joseph Bizimana, after testing.
He added: “Some of them [wives] lived desperate lives during our absence which might have forced them into extra marital sexual activities, which is the major way of contracting the virus.”
Over 300 Genocide criminals are currently at Jomba solidarity camps in preparation to begin serving their sentences.
They have so far created 400 hectares of terraces on the elevated hills in Nyabihu and are expected to cover one 100 hectares before the end of their term.