GIS - 01 December, 2016: Even if remarkable progress has been made in reducing the rate of growth in new HIV infections, prevention remains the major way to keep risks of infections at bay. This was the message of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Anil Gayan, in the context of World AIDS Day 2016.
Prevention was the predominant theme in the Minister’s address. The population, including youngsters should neither become victims nor vectors of the disease through ignorance and lack of prevention, he underscored.
Halting and reversing the spread of HIV is a global target, Mr Gayan stated, emphasising the commitment of the Government to address this ravaging pandemic. He urged the population to undergo tests to know their status regarding the disease, which is part of the preventive measures.
The Minister also shared a message of hope as he revealed the recent breakthrough vaccine in the anti-retroviral treatments to curb the spread of AIDS. According to him, this potentially effective vaccine that is currently undergoing clinical trials can be a major milestone in battling and eradicating AIDS. However, he expressed his conviction that with the ongoing campaigns, preventive measures and medical assistance, AIDS can be effectively eliminated and such a vaccine will be only a bonus in this battle.
It is recalled that the Government is currently undertaking a massive screening programme and up to now some 90,000 persons have been screened. Furthermore, 30 Non–Governmental Organisation representatives have been provided training for Rapid Testing to work in parallel with the government to scale up prevention measures.
With the intensive medical treatments and sensitisation campaigns, AIDS is making fewer victims in Mauritius, with 400 new cases of infected persons in 2011-2015 compared to 550 in 2006-2010.
World AIDS Day 2016
World Aids Day, observed on 1st December annually, has as objective to raise awareness and show support for people living with HIV. The theme chosen by UNAIDS this year is “HANDS UP FOR #HIVPREVENTION”, with particular focus on: Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PREP), violence, use of condoms, discrimination, reduction and treatment.
World Aids Day in Mauritius is being marked by a series of activities such as an HIV Testing Day to allow a maximum number of persons to have access to voluntary counselling and testing services; HIV screening programmes around the country; and sensitisation campaign on HIV and AIDS.
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