Use HIV preventive and treatment tools to stem the spread - UNFPA

Natalia Kanem UNFPA Dr Natalia Kanem, UN Under-Secretary General, and Executive Director of the UNFPA

Thu, 8 Dec 2022 Source: GNA

Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) has stressed the need for all and sundry to make use of the available HIV preventive and treatment tools to stem the spread of the disease.

“Now is the time to use them, making them universally affordable and accessible,” she said, noting that the affordability and accessibility of the tools were crucial in stopping the spread of the disease and getting societies rooted in equality, and health and dignity of all.

Madam Kanem said these in an address read on her behalf by Madam Adjoa Yenyi, Programme Specialist, Adolescent and Youth, UNFPA, at Adidome during a graduation of Centre for Empowerment and Enterprise Development (CEED) which coincided with the World AIDS Day.

The Executive Director said the UNFPA embraced the rallying cry “Equalise” that championed a world in which all people could protect themselves and stay free of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

“Every person should know the freedom and safety- and right- of bodily autonomy. They should be able to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights irrespective of their gender identity, sexual orientation, sexuality or sexual behaviour.”

Madam Kanem said gender discrimination and women’s lack of bodily autonomy, including choices to protect themselves were the reasons for more than 60 per cent new HIV cases in women and girls in sub- Sahara Africa.

She said people at high risk of HIV were often confronted with inequalities that deepened their vulnerabilities, that was why UNFPA advocated an integrated response to HIV, which included provision of essential services and supplies.

“While working within the broader social context to end all forms of discrimination and accelerate the realisation of rights for everyone.”

Madam Kanem said while the growth of the global population was the result of steady advances in health care, it was unacceptable that progress was still so uneven and therefore, urged all to recommit themselves to equality in addressing the threat posed by HIV.

She said equal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights was paramount for the 8 billion people globally and that the “urgent call to dismantle discriminatory barriers to rights and choices is nowhere more important than in the response to HIV, which is under unprecedented pressure amid multiple global crises.”

The Executive Director noted that 1.5 million new HIV infections were recorded in 2021, tripped the agreed global target of not more than 500,000 new infections annually, and called on all to help intensify the campaign against the spread of the disease.

Mr Agbenyo Michael Friday, an HIV/AIDS Coordinator at the Adidome Government Hospital urged the citizens to go for HIV test to know their status.

Source: GNA
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