Churches step up efforts to promote HIV testing


"We now have the tools to end HIV transmission here in the United Kingdom - a combination of regular testing, PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis medication], condoms and treatment as prevention - and it's vital we continue to ensure people are aware of those tools, know how and are able to access them", said THT chief executive Ian Green.

Over 30 years ago, in 1986, World Health Organization first evaluated rapid diagnostic tests for HIV. "In order to achieve this, we must address the barriers, such as stigma and discrimination, that prevent key populations from accessing testing and treatment services and fully exercising their right to health".

The TCE programme is based on community mobilization, HIV testing, tuberculosis screening, referrals to treatment, and support for HIV treatment adherence. We must focus on prevention and testing.

According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda, between 1.5 million and 2 million people have died of HIV/Aids-related ailments since 1982.

"Of course there are low-level elements of stigma in everyday life, in terms of just lack of knowledge, people reacting with gut reaction", he said.

People can be at risk of HIV if they have unprotected sexual relations, receive unsafe blood transfusion, and are exposed to contaminated injecting equipment.

Greg Olsen, Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for his ongoing commitment to Ending the Epidemic by expanding access to HIV care for people who are uninsured and underinsured".

Mr Green said: "When Prince Harry publicly speaks about taking an HIV test, or last week helped us launch HIV testing week, or when he talks publicly about HIV being nothing to be feared, that does a huge amount to tackle the stigma associated with HIV". At the height of the HIV epidemic in the early 1990s, several thousand diagnoses among persons with a history of injection drug use were made each year.

"We call upon all Rwandans who have not had a HIV test at least for a year to test and know their status", he urged.

It also includes men who have sex with men, transgender people, prisoners and the sexual partners of these people.

"But there are still far too many new infections-1.8 million in 2017 alone". The antiretroviral drug lowers death rates by suppressing HIV but it causes severe side effects.

"It's vital that everyone get tested regularly".

"That means not only that you cannot detect HIV in my system, so I don't get sick, it also means I can't transmit HIV to someone else".

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