• Sun. May 26th, 2024

Towards a reduction in new infections, deaths and discrimination caused by AIDS by 2027


Apr 26, 2024

BUJUMBURA, April 23rd (ABP) – On Thursday 18 April 2024, Richard Manirakiza, delegate to the Permanent Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Control Council (SEP/CNLS), opened a workshop to finalise and validate the joint United Nations system support programme on HIV 2024-2027, organised by UNAIDS in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and AIDS Control.

Mr Manirakiza pointed out that the aim of the 2024-2027 joint programme is to help reduce inequalities and close the gaps in order to put an end to AIDS as a threat to public health in Burundi, by reducing new infections, deaths and discrimination and/or stigmatisation by 2027.

He recalled that the government of Burundi has adopted the 95%-95%-95% objective, i.e., that 95% of people living with HIV know their status, 95% of them receive antiretroviral treatment and 95% of them have a viral load, an overly ambitious UNAIDS target aimed at controlling the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Mr. Manirakiza pointed out that, according to the demographic health survey, the seroprevalence rate among the general population fell from 6% in 2002 to 3.6% in 2007, then to 1.4% in 2010 and reached 0.9% in 2017. That study shows that there is a trend towards feminisation of the epidemic, since while the seroprevalence rate among women is 1.2%, it is 0.6% among men, he added. The seroprevalence rate in urban areas is 2.5%, while it is 0.7% in rural areas.

                                                                                                                        View of the participants

With regard to the national strategic plan to combat HIV 2023-2027, the prevalence of HIV infection increased between 2013 and 2021 among the three key people, rising from 21.3% to 30.9% among female sex workers, from 4.6% to 5.9% among homosexuals and to 15.3% among injecting drug users.

He called on everyone to help improve access to treatment and follow-up services for children under the age of 14, and urged participants to raise the rate of early prenatal consultations, HIV testing for pregnant women, linkage to care and continuity of care and treatment. According to Mr Manirakiza, everyone must redouble their efforts to reach the poorest and most marginalised women, without forgetting to increase the participation of men in testing and counselling programmes, and to place particular emphasis on the education of orphans and children living with HIV/AIDS.

The SEP/CNLS delegate invited UNAIDS to contribute to reducing the inequalities between men and women that persist in our society and that act as powerful determinants in the health of the population, knowing that discrimination and stigmatisation against people living with HIV is more accentuated among women and girls.

The UNAIDS Country Director, Marie Margarete Molnar Ako, pointed out that Burundi is facing a number of crises that are having an impact on the response to HIV, including the covid-19 pandemic, and climate change, which is having dramatic repercussions, as well as specific features that need to be taken into account in the joint programme. The joint United Nations system support programme on HIV 2024-2027 is an opportunity to help the country reach its targets and fully achieve the objective of sustainable development by complementing the action of the actors and partners who are supporting the government of Burundi in the fight against AIDS as a threat to public health.

The consultant, Dr Longin Gashubije, stated that by 2027, 95% of the target population will have equitable access to prevention, care and follow-up services, and solutions will be maximised in the provinces of Kirundo, Gitega, Makamba, Ngozi, Muyinga and Bujumbura city to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with HIV/AIDS/STIs, improvement of the environment linked to human rights and gender in order to raise the barriers to access to HIV, STI and HV prevention and care services, including the elimination of costs, as well as the strengthening of good governance in order to maintain the performance, efficiency, accountability and sustainability of the national response to catastrophic HIV.