Sibongile says preventing HIV in children secures the future. (F. Niyigena)

Sibongile says preventing HIV in children secures the future. (F. Niyigena)

Ndimubazi made the remarks, yesterday, while officiating at the national event to mark the World Aids Day at Camp Kigali in Nyarugenge District.

“The general objective of this year’s campaign is to reduce new HIV infections and to improve care and treatment among children and adolescents by reinforcing their access to and utilisation of HIV services,” he said.

Rwanda commemorated this year’s World Aids Day under the theme, “It’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent and treat HIV among our children and adolescents.”

December 1 also marks the beginning of a 10-month sensitisation campaign on HIV prevention, which will be done mainly through community outreach activities and using the mass media.

So far, Rwanda is making remarkable progress toward the attainment of HIV treatment, with adult treatment coverage standing at 80 per cent. According to estimates by the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), only 44.2 per cent of all HIV infected children are on treatment.

As the goal is for United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Rwanda is striving to attain the 90-90-90 target programme; that is, 90 per cent of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90 per cent of people who know their HIV-positive status are accessing treatment and 90 per cent of all levels people on treatment have suppressed viral loads, according to Ndimubanzi.

The UNAIDS country director, Dr DluDlu Sibongile, said, globally, infected children and adolescents who are on treatment stand between 15 and 55 per cent, noting that Rwanda—at 44.2 per cent—is well placed.

“There is goodwill and strong interventions for children living with HIV in Rwanda, but we can only do better to attain the 90-90-90 target if we need to ensure an AIDS-free generation by 2030,” said Sibongile.

The City of Kigali vice mayor for finance and economic development, Alphonse Nizeyimana, said the City authorities would encourage people to use condoms if they must have sex.

“We are going to work with different stakeholders to ensure that all public places have condom pick-places; we have found out that the managers of such meeting places have been reluctant in ensuring the availability of condoms,” said Nizeyimana.

Rwanda has managed to contain HIV prevalence among the general population aged 15-49 years by keeping it at a stable 3 per cent for the last 10 years, according to Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).

Eighty per cent of adults in need of antiretroviral treatment are receiving the life-saving drugs, the centre says.

The RBC survey also indicated that prevalence is higher among women, at 3.7 per cent, than men at 2.2 per cent.

In Kigali, and other urban areas, HIV prevalence is at 7.1 per cent due to the high number of sex workers as compared to rural areas, where prevalence stands at 2.3 per cent, figures show.

By Athan Tashobya, The New Times


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