Senegal: UNAIDS wants “Test and Treat” strategy implemented

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The Regional Deputy Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in West and Central Africa, Leopold Zekeng, has called on representatives of countries in the two regions to speed up the implementation of the ''Test and Treat'' strategy  with a view to reducing the transmission of the pandemic by 2030.

He was speaking here Tuesday during the closing ceremony of a regional workshop aimed at sharing knowledge on how to implement the “Test and Treat” strategy in six countries in West and central Africa.

''We must strive to accelerate the implementation of this strategy in our different countries as testing and treating someone early today allow us to reduce the high rates of new infections in the sub-region," he said.

"This method will improve the patient's condition and help them return to normal lives. It represents a radical preventive weapon to be considered in the prevention approach,'' Mr. Zekeng said.

According to UNAIDS, this approach is part of efforts to eradicate the AIDS pandemic and is to identify all persons living with HIV in a given country in order to help them gain access to screening.

Its objective is to first improve the health of the people who do not know their HIV status and secondly to reduce transmission.

Also speaking, the Regional Director of UNAIDS for West and Central Africa, Mamadou Diallo, said to measure progress in the implementation of the strategy, there is a need to set a new set of achievable goals in the long-term based on scientific evidence.

To this end, he said, UNAIDS advocated to help by 2030, 90 percent of infected people know their HIV status, help 90 percent of HIV-positive people voluntarily start antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 90 percent of people on ART to achieve lasting viral elimination.

According to Diallo, many obstacles, including the lack of access to screening, the loss of patients during treatment, the strong centralization of health services, the low involvement of community health workers and the weakness of funding undermine universal access to ART in both regions.

In response to these challenges, the participants adopted a number of recommendations to achieve the objectives.

They plan, in the coming days, to improve in their respective countries the quality of testing and treatment, the level of laboratory performance, identify key populations (children, teens, and pregnant women), strengthen the number of care providers and community stakeholders, monitor patients on ART as well as supply and procurement strategies to reduce costs of reagents and drugs.

The two-day meeting was organized by UNAIDS in collaboration with the French research agency, ANRS, the Joint UN Regional Team on AIDS (JURTA) and the Government of Senegal.

It was attended by representatives from six countries -- Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
-0- PANA KAN/AAS/JEN/VAO 4June2014

04 june 2014 14:01:58




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