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INCSIDA wants HIV/AIDS mandatory testing introduced in Universities

INCSIDA wants HIV/AIDS mandatory testing introduced in Universities

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DILI, 08 february 2024 (TATOLI) – The number of HIV/AIDS cases continues to rise in the country and is affecting the younger generation, which is alarming.

As a quick intervention to arrest the situation, the National Institute for Combating HIV – AIDS (INCSIDA, IP) had discussed with the Education Ministry and Higher Education Institutions to enforce mandatory HIV/AIDS testing in all universities in Timor-Leste.

INCSIDA President, Daniel Marcal said that mandatory testing is a quick and adequate intervention to curb the rate at which the disease is being contracted by many undergraduate students.

“This intervention is necessary to prevent and protect young people who are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS,” Marcal told TATOLI.

Marcal said that in Timor-Leste, HIV/AIDS is affecting the younger generation, aged between 18 and 40.

“Rapid HIV Antibody Testing will be carried out at all institutions of higher learning. At each campus, blood specimens were collected and tested for HIV,” he said.

The mandatory HIV/AIDS testing is due to take place this month in all universities in Dili and will be extended to other universities in the municipalities: “The Education Ministry had agreed with this initiative.”

Marcal reported that INCSIDA has registered more than 2,000 cases of HIV/AIDS in the country, of which 1,065 HIV-positive people are on treatment, 577 have abandoned treatment, 200 have died, and around 160 lost to follow-up.

INCSIDA also registered 15 pregnant women infected with HIV/AIDS and 57 children under the age of five who were born to a mother living with HIV.

He said that the cases occurred in all municipalities, with the highest number of cases recorded in Dili with 1,507 infected persons, Bobonaro (113), Covalima (95), Oé-Cusse (62), Baucau (53), Ermera (35), Ainaro (33) and the remaining municipalities recorded more than 10 positive cases.

INCSIDA asks HIV-positive persons to continue taking regular treatment at health centers and not to go for traditional treatments that have no scientific basis, as there is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS.

Globally, only half (52%) of children living with HIV are on life-saving treatment, far behind adults where three quarters (76%) are receiving antiretrovirals, according to the data that has just been released in the UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022.

UNAIDS reported that around 39 million people globally were living with HIV in 2022.

Around 1.3 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2022 and 630,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2022. More than 29 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy in 2022.

 

Journalist: Camilio de Sousa

Editor: Filomeno Martins

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