The effort to ensure that the community is involved in fighting against HIV and AIDS is never enough until everyone sees it as a responsibility to advocate against the World killer disease in their everyday activities.
Community Initiative AIDS Care and Prevention (CIACP) program of the CBC Health Services on December 1, 2019 celebrated the 32nd Edition of World AIDS Day (WAD) 2019. This year’s event held at the Health Services Complex in Mutengene, under the global theme, “Communities make the difference”.
Lauretta Babara, Manager of CIACP program says that one of the first ways the community can make a difference in fighting against HIV and AIDS is by accepting people living with the disease. “Acceptance, Love and Support give psychological healing to patients living with HIV and AIDS,” she noted.
Expanded access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has greatly reduced the number of HIV and AIDS related deaths and global infections from 1.7 million in 2004 to 770,000 in 2018, but stigma resulting from community actions many at times increase risk of more and more patience dying of the disease.
The CIACP program each year ensures that persons living with HIV and AIDS are brought together in an event like the World AIDS Day to help them share experiences and ideas to better manage the disease condition.
“During this World AIDS Day, we do free screening, organize plays, sport events, talk shows, share testimonies, teach crafts, and many other activities to encourage them know that they can become anything in life, though with the disease,”. The Program Manager explained.
Babara said that Support Group initiative of CIACP has also helped patients to locate proper treatment, get effective follow ups and learn life time skills that help them live happily in the society.
But more is required from the community. A conscious and concerted effort is needed to see that this disease is curbed. However, as part of what we do, CIAP Manager said, CIACP has reinforced community sensitization in Churches, Schools, the Radio and TV stations to educate communities on the importance of knowing their status, use of contraceptives, abstinence, proper hygiene and how to better relate with persons living with HIV and AIDS.
“We screened about 6000 people this year in the Southwest Region of Cameroon within this period of WAD 2019, and about 101 persons were tested positive of HIV”.
“Results this year showed a 3% drop in HIV prevalence in Cameroon. “We are making progress. Everyone especially pregnant women are encouraged to know their status”, added Babara.
Health Campaigners advocate that asides from health facilities, everyone has to take it as a personal commitment to educate their family, friends and local communities to make a difference in the fight against HIV.
Some people, especially partners rely on the results of their partners to determine their status. Babara remarked that “We are encouraging them to always go for checkup because HIV is not only transmitted through sexual intercourse. We also screen against Non Communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cancers that tops the world killer diseases”.