AIDS body challenges activists

RWANDA NGO forum on HIV/Aids has challenged those involved in fighting the disease to balance the prevention and treatment of the pandemic if the disease is to be contained.

RWANDA NGO forum on HIV/Aids has challenged those involved in fighting the disease to balance the prevention and treatment of the pandemic if the disease is to be contained.

The Chairman of Rwanda NGO forum on HIV/Aids Aimable Mwananawe said fighting discrimination, stigma and providing accurate information on the disease are critical components of an effective response to the deadly disease.  

Mwananawe said this while at a one -day awareness on HIV/AIDS workshop jointly organised by the forum and International Council of AIDS Service Organisation (ICASO) on Thursday at Hotel La Palisse in Nyandungu.

“We need to prevent the disease but offering treatment should not be forgotten. The two elements must go hand in hand,” Mwananawe said.

The forum is mandated to promote, monitor and evaluate the activities of NGOs and associations engaged in the fight against the disease in the country.

He added that the commitments made by the various HIV/AIDS NGOs to sensitise Rwandans on the dangers of the disease must fulfil their promises. “Right information is central to mankind. Those in charge of disseminating HIV/AIDS messages must pass on such messages up to the village level,” Mwananawe said.

CNLS Executive Secretary Agnes Binagwaho said accurate information on HIV/AIDS is vital since it empowers people take necessary steps in protecting their lives.

She said individuals who fear stigma or discrimination are less likely to seek testing or health care.

Joe Mahasse, from the International Council of AID Service Organisation (ICASO) noted that women are particularly vulnerable to HIV because of the difficulties they face in obtaining accurate information or negotiating for safer sex.

ICASO among other objectives helps strengthen individual’s capacity, groups or communities to understand how epidemic is evolving in connection with the human development.

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