Mozambique health minister calls redoubling of efforts against HIV/AIDS

Maputo- Mozambique (PANA - Mozambican Health Minis-ter Ivo Garrido has called for a redoubling of efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS in order to reduce substantially the HIV prevalence rate.
Garrido was speaking to reporters on Monday at the end of a round table on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, attended by the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick.
"Our efforts in the struggle against HIV/AIDS will only be considered a genuine success when the number of infections is falling," stressed Garrido.
Currently the national HIV prevalence rate is stable at around 16 per cent of adults aged between 15 and 49.
Garrido said that Zoellick had wanted to understand the difficulties faced by Mozambique in the struggle against diseases such as AIDS, so that vigorous strategies can be drawn up that would lead to the desired result of halting the spread of the epidemic.
He said that prevention remained the area of greatest concern, since there were still a very large number of people who engaged in unprotected sex with casual partners.
This, Garrido added, undermined all efforts to fight against the disease.
"We must find messages that persuade people to change their behaviour", said the Minister, pointing out that in Mozambique over 90 per cent of those infected by HIV picked up the virus sexually.
Garrido compared the HIV/AIDS situation with smoking, saying despite the prominent messages that cigarettes will kill them, many Mozambicans carry on smoking, regardless of the dangers.
Garrido also announced that the National AIDS Council (CNCS)
will adopt later this year new prevention strategies.

05 february 2008 20:25:00




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