River Region’s Aids Committee recently commemorated World Aids Day at Kudang
village, in the south of the region’s Niamina East district. The event was
characterized by speeches, voluntary counseling and testing and prizes were
awarded to people who answered questions on HIV/AIDS. The theme of the commemoration and the
campaign slogan were “Right to Health” and “Everyone Counts.” Action Aid
International The Gambia sponsored the commemoration.
Jawara Beyai, assistant records officer at the office of the regional Governor said HIV/AIDS is a condition that hampers development as it affects productivity due to long periods of sickness and frequent health center visits and cost of buying drugs. He stressed the need for strong partnership with different stakeholders to curb the menace.
The regional Aids coordinator Hamadi Sowe said globally, an estimated 36.9 million were living with HIV and 2.6 million were children. He said the vast majority of people living with HIV are in low and middle-income countries. “15 million people were receiving Antiretroviral (ARV) worldwide and of these, close to 13.5 million live in low and middle income countries. In the same vein, CRR has about eight health facilities that are conducting HIV testing services with one of them providing both testing and treatment services,” he said.
He revealed that from 2016, the total number of people that were counseled and tested was 8045 cases, of which HIV 1 which stands at 4.2% while HIV 2 and 3 stands at 0.2%.
Mr. Beyai said HIV has no cure, noting that very powerful antiretroviral drugs are readily available to bring down viral loads to strengthen the immune system.
Alhagie Cham, the regional Aids coordinator of Kanifing Municipality and Banjul said the National Aids Secretariat and partner institutions have made significant strides in providing treatment for those living with HIV and Aids. “There are about 4,441 currently on ARV with 63 new cases just started. Unfortunately, 24 people died while on ARV which constitute about 0.5%,” he stated.