Employees of MTN Rwanda yesterday turned up for Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) as a way of supporting this year’s Aids day theme of encouraging voluntary HIV testing among the population.
This comes ahead of the International AIDS day which is commemorated on December 1 of every year. The event which took place at the MTN Centre in Gasabo District was presided over by the Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Control Commission (CNLS), Dr. Anita Asiimwe.
In his address to the employees, the MTN CEO, Themba Xhumalo, stressed the need for voluntary testing among the employees so that they know their status, saying it is a right step towards a healthy living.
“We believe that one day the cure for AIDS will be obtained and we shall have to live a healthy life. But for the time being, we need to stop its spread and this can only be done when we know our status,” Xhumalo said.
According to the 2005 Demographic Health Study (DHS), AIDS prevalence among women of the (35-39) age group is 6.9 percent; in men of (40-44) it is 7.1 per cent.
Asiimwe explained that that due to the high numbers of people infected with HIV in Rwanda, the government has put much emphasis on establishing health facilities that offer Anti retroviral Drugs (ARVs).
She said that from 1997-2001, there were only 15 but the number has since increased to 316 across the country.
Speaking to The New Times, Asiimwe commended the MTN Rwanda campaign of encouraging its employees for voluntary testing.
“This is good because it is in line with the International Aids Day theme…people need to know their status and act accordingly.”
Xhumalo revealed that MTN has a program of treating its employees who are HIV positive as well as their family members.