Health

AIDS prevention is not fast enough, pan-African NGO warns

Africa must be able to achieve self-sufficient local production of antiretroviral, challenges remain important, says founder

Aurore Bonny   | 01.12.2021
AIDS prevention is not fast enough, pan-African NGO warns

DOUALA, Cameroon

African Synergies Against AIDS, an organization of African first ladies, stressed the shortcomings and necessities of the fight against the disease in a public message as Wednesday marks World AIDS Day.

"We now face two pandemics that are intertwined with each other. We have had to continue to act against COVID-19 while maintaining our efforts in the fight against AIDS," said Chantal Biya, Cameroon's first lady and the founder of the organization.

This situation has "greatly disrupted" HIV services and slowed down "the positive momentum" of the fight, she said.

Citing more than 1.7 million new HIV infections and 770,000 deaths recorded in 2020 worldwide, she cautioned that "prevention is not fast enough" and the challenges remain significant.

Despite this, "very appreciable" progress was made in two decades, Biya said.

"We must be able to achieve self-sufficiency in Africa in terms of local production of antiretroviral drugs," she added.

She also advocated intensifying youth's education and awareness through social networks.

"It is a great tool which, used wisely, would allow us to accomplish miracles," Biya said.

She also called for the fight against sexual violence of which women are the main victims "both in their homes and socio-professional environments."

According to the UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, there were 37.7 million people living with HIV in 2020. Women and girls accounted for 63% of all new HIV infections last year.

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to two-thirds or 67% of people living with HIV in the world.

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