World AIDS Day : Massive Screening Graces Commemoration

The 33rd edition of the day will be observed today with a call for people to know their HIV status.

Activities to mark the Cameroon month against HIV/AIDS will reach climax today with worldwide events to commemorate the 33rd edition of the World AIDS Day. Events in the country is taking place under the theme “How to Overcome the Fear of HIV Screening.” As a prelude to observe the day, different public and private institutions have organized voluntary HIV screening exercises, distributing HIV and Covid-19 sensitization tools as well as educating the public on the prevention and living with HIV.

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Since November 19, 2020 massive HIV screening exercises and sensitization campaigns have been going on in the nooks and crannies of the country.  Spearheaded by the Pan African NGO for African First Ladies, African Synergy Against AIDS and Suffering, the campaigns did not only give opportunities for people to know their HIV status, but also to collect their results after screening. According to health experts, knowing your HIV status is the gateway for a better live with or without the virus. Apart from HIV sensitization campaigns in various schools, different government ministries and public/private enterprises also organized HIV screening exercises and sensitization campaigns. Such was the case at the Ministries of Posts and Telecommunications, Public Health, regional and divisional hospitals, the Cameroon News and Publishing Corporation (SOPECAM) amongst others. 

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AIDS remains a major public health problem in the world. This is illustrated by figures made public in the UNAIDS 2020 report. The report reveals that more than 38 million people were living with HIV in 2019, 1.7 million people contracted HIV in 2019 and 690,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2019. With an estimated prevalence of 3.4 per cent in 2018, Cameroon is in the context of a generalized epidemic. A third of those infected are found in the young population aged between 15 and 24. Health experts say a lot still needs to be done, even if the many efforts made by the government and its partners are starting to bear fruit. UNAIDS report reveals that in order to speed up the response to the pandemic, the international community has set itself the goal of reaching the 90-90-90 target by 2020. Unfortunately, despite the many awareness campaigns carried out among the population, the number of people who do not know their serological status in the world remains high with about 7.1 million people just in 2019.

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