WAD 2015 REECHOES THE NEED FOR PREVENTION AND CARE AND TREATMENT FOR PLWHIV

CBCHB staff sensitize the population through the streets of-Bamenda
CBCHB staff sensitize the population through the streets of-Bamenda

The Coordinator of the Northwest Regional Technical Group (RTG) who doubles as the PMTCT Focal Point, Dr. Gladys Tayong has said there has been a progressive decline in the rate of HIV new infections and AIDS related deaths in the World, Africa, Cameroon and the Northwest Region. She made this statement in Bamenda on the occasion of the commemoration of World AIDS Day 2015 under the theme ‘Getting to zero’- Zero new infections, zero stigma and discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. Addressing those present at the esplanade of the Catholic University in Bamenda, Dr. Tayong revealed that in 2014 there were about 36.9 million Persons Living With HIV (PLWHIV) in the
World. In new infections this year, there are about 1.9 million new infections worldwide. This figure she said is down from 2.1 million in 2013, 2.5 million in 2011 and 2.7 million in 2008. In Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014, there were 25.8 million persons living with HIV. The number of AIDs related deaths in 2014 declined by about 48% while new infections also declined by about 41%. This decline she noted is attributed to Anti-Retroviral Therapy and prevention interventions. Even though much progress has been made, there are still some major challenges. This is
because the progress is not seen in young women and adolescent girls. Young women aged 15 to 19 years old account for 71 percent of new infections amongst this age group in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Cameroon, about 600,000 persons are living with HIV. 3,000 new infections occur annually in the Northwest Region and about 30,000 nationally. The HIV prevalence in Cameroon has dropped from 5.5% to 4.3% nationally. In the Northwest region, the prevalence of
HIV dropped from 8.7% in 2004 to 6.3% in 2011. Still in the Region, there is about 7.2% prevalence rate in women and 5% in men. In the domain of PMTCT, from January to September 2015, over 35,000 pregnant women were tested with over 1099 HIV+, giving a positive rate of 3.1%. In the Northwest Region there were 1,500 new infections amongst those tested, an indication that new infections every year in the Region are about 3,000 annually. These startling statistics came to remind stakeholders in the HIV response on the urgent need to continue with the fight towards an HIV free generation. With regards to PMTCT, Dr. Tayong called on women in the reproductive age to make use of the over 350 PMTCT implementing sites to ensure that the HIV virus is not transmitted to unborn and breastfeeding children. These utterances were reiterated by the Secretary General at the NW Regional Governor’s office Mr Absalom Monono who indicated that the government of Cameroon and her partners provide free antiretroviral drugs and expect the population to embrace and combat HIV together by making use of the treatment and prevention services offered.
In the build up to WAD 2015, the RTG and the CBC Health Services carried out week-long activities on the national AIDS week geared towards sensitizing the public on prevention methods, encouragement PLWHIV to accept and adhere to treatment. The services included Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) and health talks. On his part, the CBC Director Health Services (DHS) in a letter addressed to all CBC Health Services institutions used the opportunity to appreciate the work done by staff in implementing the HIV and AIDS prevention activities. He noted that the CBC Health Services in response to the HIV pandemic continues to focus on HIV prevention, care and treatment and psychosocial support to those living with HIV and the affected. With the successes realized by the CBC Health Services in this domain and the efforts put in by all other stakeholders, the 2020 (90-90-90) vision of UNAIDS for global AIDS treatment will certainly be realized. That is 90% of those living with HIV are diagnosed, 90% of those who know their status are placed on treatment and 90% of those on antiretroviral therapy successfully suppressing the virus. The WAD 2015 day celebrations in Bamenda ended with some friendly matches between the CBC Health Services staff and their counterparts of St. Mary Solidad Hospital, an event that gave the opportunity for more people to be tested for HIV.

CBCHB staff following exhibition presentation
CBCHB staff following exhibition presentation

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