Dr Sesay of the AIDS Response group in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation disclosed that up to January 2008 some 72,491 HIV tests were conducted of which some 6,741 tested positive. This means that between 48,000 to 60,000 people are now living with the disease in the country.
He made this statement yesterday at a conference to mark the Global HIV/AIDS Week of Action (GAWA) Accountability hearing with the theme: “Are we doing enough to Stop AIDS” organized by the National HIV/AIDS Coalition at the YWCA old Hall.
Dr Sesay added that, HIV/AIDS prevalence stands at 1.53% with Koinadugu district having the highest rate of 3% while Tonkolili has the lowest.
He noted that the second prevalence rate is high among women between the ages of 20-24 and for men the rate is higher among them between the ages of 35-39.
The prevalence rate among women has increased from 2.9% to 4.4%, noting that the ministry provides free ARC therapy and also nutritional support.
The Ministry Dr Sesay said is planning prevention, treatment, care and support services to orphans and vulnerable children.
In his statement the Director of National AIDS Secretariat (NAS), Dr Brima Kargbo said that his institution coordinates activities and mobilize funds but does not implement, adding that it also provides manuals to Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and civil society to implement.
The week started on Sunday with a candle light procession from the National Stadium to YWCA, where a memorial service was held to remember those who died of the disease.
The slogan for this year is ‘One week One voice.’
The week is the defining moment before world leaders report back to the United Nations (UN) on the progress they have made to meet their commitments on HIV/AIDS .
In 2005 world leaders made another historic promise on universal access, committing to: “developing and implementing a package for HIV prevention, treatment and care with the aim of coming as close as possible to the goal of universal access to treatment by 2010.”
By Abibatu Kamara