Niamey, Niger (PANA) - In 2018, the number of people living with HIV in Niger was around 36,000; HIV prevalence in the general population has stabilized at 0.4% since 2012; and the estimated number of new infections to the virus is reduced by 70% in 6 years (from 6,000 cases in 2012 to 1,700 in 2018), according to the Nigerien Minister of Public Health, Dr. Illiassou Mainassara.
In a speech at the launch of the World AIDS Day on Friday, coupled with the voluntary HIV testing campaign, Dr Mainassara noted that "a single site (Niamey National Hospital) for treatment of the disease in 2003, Niger now has 110 sites where around 20,000 people are on anti-retroviral treatment (ARV).
The number of annual deaths from AIDS has been reduced by 69% (from 4,000 in 2012 to 1,200 in 2018), the Minister said, adding, however, that despite these important efforts, "major challenges" remain. He called for everyone's contribution to meet them.
These include, among other things, the mother-to-child transmission rate of HIV which was 12.31% in 2018; the high concentration of prevalence among key populations which was 16.6% among female sex workers in 2015; from the low HIV testing rate among populations at 21% for women and 7% for men.
In her sspeech at the event, the brain behind the fight against AIDS in Niger, president of the Vie Meilleure foundation and the First Lady, Hadjia Aissata Issoufou, invited all the actors involved in the fight against the disease, to a strong mobilization.
She also called for the promotion of the human rights of people living with HIV and strengthening and consolidating the community system, national networks and civil society intervening in the response to HIV.
In partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and the Chinese Embassy, the Vie Meilleure Foundation, like the previous edition, planned the screening campaign. The objective is to accelerate Niger's march towards the elimination of AIDS in 2030, through the three slogans "90% of people living with HIV know their status", "90% of these people receive treatment" and "90% of these people on anti-retroviral treatment have a suppressed or undetectable viral load".
-0- PANA SA/IS/KND/VAO 12Jan2020