The Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Brigadier General Marco Gaguti has appealed to residents in the region to increase efforts on fighting HIV/ AIDS, warning that in spite of some achievements made so far, the killer disease was still a major threat.
Mr Gaguti elaborated that records indicate that HIV new infections decreased from 1.6 per cent recorded last year to 1.1 per cent by June, this year.
“In spite of the achievement recorded, the regional HIV prevalence was still high at 6.5 per cent compared to the national average which stood at 5.0 per cent,” he said.
Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa launched the National HIV awareness campaign on September 16, this year, appealing to Tanzanians to take a holistic approach by testing their health status, saying that people who tested and are found to be HIV positive should not hesitate to start using ARV drugs.
Mr Gaguti also urged men to be bold and test their HIV status, adding that experience shows that men were a bit shy when it comes to voluntary testing compared to their female counterparts.
He appealed to the youth not to relax in the fight against HIV/AIDS, warning that the disease was killing millions of people worldwide, saying that youth, especially those in secondary schools and colleges should take a holistic approach in educating people on how to avoid contracting the disease.
He said AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents aged 10 – 19 years old, claiming the lives of young people at an alarming rate.
To end the HIV epidemic affecting young women and girls, he said governments and their development partners must continue investing in broad programmes that look at the totality of the lives of adolescent girls and young women.
He said that these efforts must go beyond providing treatment and prevention and focus on the overall development of this group, adding that they must reach adolescent girls and young women with broader services that span across health and education while offering them social protection, including awareness campaigns to help fight stigma.
About 37 million people globally are living with HIV, out of whom 19 million are in Eastern and Southern African regions. UNAIDS 2015 report revealed that Tanzania had succeeded to reduce new HIV/AIDS infections among adults from 72,000 cases during 2013, 69,000 cases during 2014 down to 48,000 cases during 2015.
Also, new infections among children dropped from 67,000 cases during 2010 to 56,000 cases during 2015.
The report also indicated that about 1.4 million Tanzanians were living with HIV while those under Antiretroviral (ARVs) were about 800,000