Health and Sanitation Minister, Abator Thomas, past, Tuesday, 31st October, officially launched the Acceleration of HIV prevention initiative at the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building in Freetown.
Mrs. Abator Thomas: Hon. Minister of Health
Giving her key note address, Mrs. Abator Thomas started by saluting the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat (NAS) for taking the acceleration of HIV prevention initiative, which, she said, was in accordance with a resolution they adopted during a Minsters of Health summit held in Maputo in August 2005. The resolution, the Minister said, provided the institutional framework for HIV prevention and called upon governments, WHO , UNAIDS and other partners for intensified action, declaring 2006 "the year of acceleration of HIV Prevention.
The Regional Committee, the Minister went on, was followed by the November 2005 consultation among United Nations Agencies in Africa, where they discussed inter alia, how to join forces and strengthen partnership to support the acceleration of HIV interventions in the region, as well as an action plan and joint declaration to support preventive efforts in member states, was adopted.
The Acting Director, National HIV/AIDS Secretariat (NAS), Dr. Brima Kargbo, in his statement, noted that the first case of HIV was reported in 1987 and that since then, there has been a steady increase in the number of new infections. He said President Tejan Kabbah was made Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Response Council in Sierra Leone, following the launching of the project in 2002.
Dr. Kargbo stated that despite the political commitment of the Government and its development partners, such as WHO, UNICEF , UNAIDS, etc., there were still new infections, adding that a national sero-prevalence survey conducted in 2005 indicates a prevalence of 1.53% and that the highest prevalence rate was amongst women aged 20-24 years with 2.0% , while that of the men, aged 35-39 years, was 3.5%.
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