KIGALI, Rwanda – The Government of Rwanda has laid out a new strategy to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS eepecially among the youth. The strategy was
outlined last week during the World Aids Day celebrations on December 1 2013.
The strategy was launched by Dr. Anita Asiimwe, Minister of State in Charge of Health. The theme was ‘The Rwanda HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan 2013-2018.’ The target is to take action and ensure the youth create a generation free from HIV/AIDS by year 2018.
Dr. Asiimwe said: “Youths today have access to the necessary information about HIV/AIDS and this is why we are mainly targeting them in this strategy.”
She advised people not to engage in unprotected sex if the world is to receive an HIV/AIDS free generation by the year 2018.
It is noted Rwanda has about 210,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. 12,000 of those living with HIV/AIDS are children. One in every 12 women between 15 and 45 years of age is living with HIV/AIDS.
The new strategy will concentrate on prevention of new infections. The focus is to see reduction of new infections from 6000 every year to 2000 new infections. Improvement of care and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients. This will contribute to a lesser number of HIV/AIDS related deaths. The third area of concentration will be emphasizing equal opportunity for all.
Rwanda government plans on raising condom use by 13 per cent and increase the number of males circumcised from the 13 per cent to 66 per cent by the year 2018. Rwanda launched a nation-wide campaign of non-surgical circumcision which is aimed at seeing about 700,000 males circumcised by 2016.
The Country Director United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) Dr. Sibongila Dludlu said much effort is still needed in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Dr.Dludlu said: “We want to gain a zero new HIV infection, zero discrimination and zero Aids-related death by 2018 and here more efforts should be put in innovation, investment, and commitment.”
This strategy will see about $1.9 million (Rwf 600 billion) invested and it will go country-wide for a more positive effect.
It will work with the current programmes the country has in fighting new HIV infections. It includes starting up Anti-HIV/AIDS clubs in schools, counselling and free consultation on HIV related issues most especially among adolescents.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a report showing HIV/AIDS -related deaths among adolescents between 10-19 years had increased by 50 per cent worldwide between 2005-2012.
This is actually blamed on less efforts placed on prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission worldwide.
About 2.1 million adolescents world-wide lived with HIV/AIDS in 2012 but with increased investment in innovation, many challenges will be overcome as stated in the report.
Rwanda though praised by UNAID for the efforts put in cubing HIV/AIDS spread gets about 10,000 new infections per year and therefore needs to reduce on such a number in the next five years.
Youths appreciated this initiative saying that this was actually going to help much if the country is to fight Aids.
“As youths, we need to know more about Aids, how best we can prevent it and I believe with this new strategy introduced especially for us, we will be able to get all such information”, said a 19-year old Grace Kamikazi.