HIV: Antiretroviral uptake more than 60 percent

The disease control agency Trac Plus reports that as of October, 59900 patients were on antiretrovirals including 5289 children.

The figures coincide with the World Aids Day December 01 which however is focusing on campaigns that are hoped will increase the number couples going for voluntary testing and counseling sessions.

According to latest data, there has been an increase in new heterosexual infections in Kigali – a trend government and activists believe could be reflective of the whole country.

The infections have increased from 55.1 % to 91.7% among discordant married couples and among couples living as concubines and from 60.3% to 94.2% among irregular partners, the survey noted.

Discordance is when one partner tests HIV positive and the other HIV negative.

Over the weekend, government, activists and the UN agencies in Rwanda launched a campaign across the country targeting couples. Local authorities and intervention activists will now take regular surveys of the response to track how couples take up the message.

Part of the explanation for the rise in heterosexual infections is that a big proportion of couples do not recognize the importance of protected sex, according to the National Aids Commission.

This lack of knowledge increases the risk of contamination among the healthy partner. Moreover, the phenomenon of discordance leads to familial conflicts with unpredictable consequences such as separation, divorce and coercion to have unprotected sex.   

HIV prevalence stands at 2, 2% in rural areas and 7, 3% in urban, from more than 15% some years ago, statistics show – an indication that control mechanisms are working.

The UN aids agency UNAIDS points out expansion of services for preventing HIV transmission from mothers to children (PMTCT), as one of the major recent improvements that Rwanda has recorded.  

Some 11673 (19%) patients are actually mothers taking part in the PMTCT program meant to keep the unborn infants safe from infections. The program includes others tools such as halting breast feeding and dieting.  

To achieve this, the PMTCT program is operational in more than half of the country’s health facilities.