AIDS costs Namibia 37.5 million US dollars in 10 years

Windhoek- Namibia (PANA) -- Namibia spent over 37.
5 million US dollars in efforts to combat the incurable HIV/AIDS during the past decade, parliament was told on Friday.
The country's Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Richard Kamwi told the House that the only achievement so far has been an increase in public awareness about the presence of the pandemic and how to avoid HIV infection.
Kamwi said that more funds were needed to make the anti-retroviral drugs accessible to Namibians currently living with HIV or AIDS.
According to a recent survey the ministry of health, 95 percent of Namibians know how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes the acquired immunodeficiency virus (AIDS), is transmitted and prevented.
Kamwi reported that the use of condoms by sexually active adults had risen from 1 percent in 1992 to about 40 percent in 2000.
The deputy minister said the demand for condoms provided by his ministry had correspondingly increased dramatically to about 39 million by the year 2000.
"Interestingly, a steady decline in the number of sexually transmitted diseases is being recorded annually," observed Kamwi.
He said that the ministry had observed the levelling off and a slight decline in the HIV-infection rate among pregnant women due to the efforts of the HIV-AIDS control programme.
Namibia's HIV prevalence rate was estimated at more than 19 percent among adults by the end of 2000.
Replying to a Member of Parliament from the opposition Monitor Action Group, Kosy Pretorius, who wanted to know why the government concentrated on propagating the "safe sex message" and ignoring the "no-smoking message," Kamwi said that this was because it was easier to ask people to stop smoking.
On the contrary, it is very difficult to convince adult persons to abstain from sex completely, the deputy minister added.
"Sex is a natural need that demands to be satisfied in the majority of human beings, especially adults.
It can be equated to other needs such as hunger, thirst and shelter," the deputy minister added.

07 july 2001 08:11:00

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