Mozambican President Guebuza urges routine HIV test

Maputo- Mozambique (PANA) -- Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Saturday urged that routine testing for HIV should be introduced into the country's health units.
He acknowledged, however, that this option would imply changes to Mozambican legislation and to the administrative procedures currently in force.
Speaking in Maputo at a ceremony to mark World AIDS Day, Guebuza said routine testing was "a type of intervention that can have an impact in reversing the current picture".
He insisted that the human rights of the patients must be respected and it was this that distinguished routine testing from compulsory testing.
Mozambique's national HIV prevalence rate appears to have changed little over the last three years.
The epidemiological surveillance round of 2004 suggested that 16.
2 per cent of Mozambicans aged between 15 and 49 were HIV-positive.
The latest survey of 11,000 pregnant women across the country came up with a figure of a 16 per cent HIV prevalence rate.
Guebuza warned that nobody should take comfort from this apparent stabilisation in the infection rate.
"In the first place, the figure of 16 per cent is still very high," he said.
"It means that one in every six Mozambicans is infected.
It means that one and a half million of our fellow countrymen are infected, and that there are still 500 new infections every day.
" "We have to face this epidemic as a serious obstacle to our development," said Guebuza.
"These infection figures threaten to undermine the results we are achieving in the fight against poverty.
So each one of us, infected or not, should feel responsible for reversing the current levels of infection.
" Prevention, he continued, remained "the cheapest, most effective weapon, and is accessible to all of us".
AIDS was no longer a death sentence, he pointed out, saying treatment with the life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs was now available in all Mozambican districts.

01 december 2007 17:22:00

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