Mauritius: Health minister highlights importance of HIV testing in Mauritius

Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius (ANA) –  “It is most important that everyone knows his or her HIV status as ignorance on this matter can cause death of innocent individuals,” Mauritian Health Minister Anil Gayan said Tuesday at a ceremony to mark World AIDS Day.

Mr Gayan said it is imperative for sexual partners to be absolutely open with each other about their HIV status for their mutual protection.

“We must nevertheless scale up access to HIV testing services throughout the nation,” the minister stressed, explaining that HIV screening is essential for everybody “since the earlier one knows, the better it is for treatment.”

On the great strides that have been made in the treatment of HIV, Mr Gayan averred that it was fortunate in Mauritius to have such facilities free of cost, unlike in other countries.

According to the minister, the island has responded fast to HIV through the development of comprehensive plans to contain and prevent infection. Presently, some 2,700 people get their regular antiretroviral treatment in Mauritius.

“Governments here and around the world are committed to defeat HIV and AIDS. This can happen sooner only if all stakeholders, including the NGOs, actively engage in this endeavour and operate in accordance with the basic fundamentals of accountability, transparency and the obligation to produce results,” he emphasized.

The minister also spoke of the endeavour to meet the UNAIDS target of 90–90–90, highlighting that its achievement would be to ensure that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy would have viral suppression.

"This is an ambitious target but an unavoidable one as we are determined to help end the AIDS epidemic,” Mr Gayan affirmed.  

He also spoke of special activities aimed at encouraging young people to avoid dangerous sexual practices, intravenous drug use and drugs altogether as well as unsafe piercings; following good hygiene practices; and getting tested to know their HIV status.

Mauritius is actively engaged in creating community awareness, providing screening services free as well as prevention activities targeting high-risk groups such as sex workers, homosexuals, injecting drug users and prisoners.

World AIDS Day is observed every year on 1 December since 1998. It aims at bringing people across the world together to commemorate people who lost their lives to HIV, take stock of progress made in responding to the epidemic and reflect on the way forward to end the epidemic.
-0- PANA NA/AR 1Dec2015

01 ديسمبر 2015 15:07:45

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