The launching ceremony for the 16th edition of AIDS Free Holidays this year 2018 took place at the North West regional Special Funds conference hall on the 22nd of August 2018, presided over by the Governor of The North West Region Mr. LELE LAFRIQUE Adolphe who was flanked with his close collaborators, and other high profile administrative authorities. The hall was not spacious enough to contain all the participants and guests who’s interest to the impact of such a ceremony is no more to prove. Under on HIV theme “Android generation, Click on HIV testing” this launching comes after the National launching by the Ministers of public Health, Youth Affairs and Civic education and the African Synergy for the fight against AIDs and suffering. The ceremony full of color and sound was highly covered by media men/women from various media houses in the North West region. For the occasion, 50 selected youth peer educators have been trained and deployed to the three Sub divisions in Bamenda to sensitize the population on HIV and encourage HIV testing. 2 mobile HIV testing teams have been deployed to offer free confidential voluntary HIV counseling and testing. In the speech, the regional Delegate for Public Health Dr CHE Kingsley expressed his gratitude to the First Lady of Cameroon, Madame Chantal BIYA for putting children, youths and vulnerable population at the centre of all Her interventions. He added “our goal is to eliminate HIV as public health problem by 2030. By 2020, the objectives are : to enable 90% of persons living with HIV to know their HIV status; to place at least 90% of persons living with HIV on treatment and to take at least 90% of those on antiretroviral therapy to viral suppression” end of quote. Statically, from January to june 2018 in the North West Region, HIV counseling and testing were offered to 209,435 persons against 192,213 at the same period last year. 4,448 were tested positive giving the rate of 2.1% positive rate as compare to last year where 6,454 were tested positive giving a 3.4% HIV positive rate. So a slight decrease is noted all over, though some health districts like Bamenda, Ndu, and Bafut remain at above 3% of positive rate. Out of the 4,448 positive cases, 3,511 (78.9%) were placed on treatment as compare to the 3.473 (53.8%) positive case placed on ARV last year. Of 209,435 persons tested, 34,779 were adolescents distributed as follow: in the group age 10 to 14 years they were 11,954 among whom 5,532 were males and 6,416 females; the HIV positive rate was 0.7% in the female and 0.4% in the males. In the age group 15 to 19 years they were 22,825 among whom 7,190 were males and 15,162 females. The HIV positive rate as 1% in the female and 0.4% in the males. The data reveals that HIV positive rate among female adolescents is twice as high as in the male. On the trend, the regional Delegate said: “this calls for more interventions targeting adolescents and most especially the girls”. He went further by saying that despite our young ones who are more affected, the synergy of efforts involving all actors of the North West Region is yielding fruits as a most recent survey has shown a reduction in the HIV prevalence in the age 15 to 49 years, from 6.3% in 2011 to 4.8% in 2017. However the prevalence in females is still above 6%. It’s worth to note that the socio-political and security crisis rocking the region for close to 3 years now is the factor contributing to the spread of the virus notably among school activities are not very effective and among Internally Displaced.
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