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Liberia canvasses reduction of HIV/AIDS patients

(Xinhua)

14:52, December 01, 2011

MONROVIA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- As the world celebrates the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (World AIDS) Day on Thursday, West Africa's post-conflict nation Liberia has canvassed a reduction of the number of its citizens either on care drugs for the virus (HIV/AIDS) or vulnerary testing.

Addressing an audience at the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) headquarters in Monrovia on Wednesday, the Executive Director (ED), National AIDS Commission, Ivan Camanor said HIV/ AIDS is a national challenge, not just for the country but the world at large.

"We know that HIV is affecting our people. Already, we are aware that four per cent of pregnant women tested at health facilities are affected by HIV. We also know that HIV prevalence in the general population of reproductive AIDS is about 1.5 per cent. This is based on the 2007 censor survey. In 2012, we are going to do another survey," he said.

Flanked by the UNMIL's spokesperson Yasmina Bouziane and the United Nations AIDS Country Coordinator David Chipanta; Camanor urged the audience to raise awareness, remembering all those who have lost their lives to the pandemic disease.

Despite the overall 3.5 million population, Camanor explained that 38, 000 persons are estimated by the AIDS commission to be infected with the virus, while 4, 800 are those seeking medication already and 25, 000 persons tested unknowingly when attending treatment for other complications, but are in the communities.

According to him, development may be impeded due to the pandemic, adding that safe sex measures must be followed and there is a need for more awareness since people lack the ability to get tested or go for treatment for fear of stigma or discrimination that are no more a problem.

The national challenge for the AIDS commission is to rapidly control the movement of the virus, since HIV moves with people and people move with the virus as it spreads across the country, he added.

Speaking to the same audience, David Chipanta, Country Coordinator for Liberia's UNAIDS office said young people are leading the HIV prevention revolution, while they are adopting safer sexual practices by choosing to delay the age of sexual debut.

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