His Excellency Vice President Faisal Naseem announced for a multisectoral coordination mechanism for HIV and Hepatitis during the Launch of the #KnowYourStatus on World AIDS Day 2019

4th December 2018 - His Excellency Vice President of the Maldives Faisal Naseem announced for a multisectoral coordination mechanism for HIV and Hepatitis during the launch of the ‘Know Your Status’ campaign with WHO Representative Dr Arvind Mathur on the occasion of World Aids Day 2018 at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.. During the event, State Minister of Health Dr Shah Mahir also stated his commitment to ensure a more comprehensive HIV Programme inclusive of Migrant health services.

1 December 2018 marks the 30th global anniversary of World AIDS Day – a day created to raise awareness about HIV and the resulting AIDS epidemics. Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 70 million people have acquired the infection, and about 35 million people have died. Today, around 37 million worldwide live with HIV, of whom 22 million are on treatment.

Maldives saw it’s first case of HIV in 1991 but has been successful in keeping the low annual rates of new infections in the range from 0-2 cases per 100, 000 population.

Though absolute number of people living with HIV are low, there are vulnerable populations even within our community, especially female sex workers, injecting drug users and homosexual males. There is also a large migrant expatriate workforce on one side and high mobile tourist population on the other.

Ensuring all people everywhere have access to quality HIV testing and can know their status is critical to preventing and controlling HIV/AIDS. One in four people with HIV don’t know that they have HIV. This inhibits access to treatment and enhances the likelihood of AIDS-related complications and death. It also allows the virus to spread.

WHO joined partners and leaders to commemorate World AIDS Day under the theme “Know Your Status”. This will also be an occasion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day – a pioneering global health campaign first initiated by WHO in 1988. The biggest goal for this year is to advocate people to know their HIV/AIDS status, to get tested.
Knowing your status allows the patient to reach immediate care and prevents spread of HIV/AIDS. In this regard, His Excellency Vice President of the Maldives Honorable Faisal Naseem launched the #KnowYourStatus campaign together with WHO Representative Dr Arvind Mathur advocating for comprehensive HIV prevention program. His Excellency Vice President Faisal Naseem also announced for a multisectoral coordination mechanism for HIV and Hepatitis.

“I am enthused with the very presence of HE Vice President as I seen an opportunity and humbly submit to reinvigorate the “National AIDS Council” to support a multi-sectoral, multi-ministerial action with the aim to eliminate HIV from the Maldives.” said Dr Arvind Mathur, “We need to act now as resources are needed to maintain the low prevalence status and not allowing it to turn to an outbreak.”

During the event, State Minister of Health Dr Shah Mahir also stated his commitment to ensure a more comprehensive HIV Programme inclusive of Migrant health services. “We will continue to keep HIV as a priority, broaden the programme to cover viral hepatitis and focus will be given to reach the unreached including the very vulnerable migrant workers” said the State Minister.

WHO reaffirms commitment to assure and support towards Government’s endeavor for better health of Maldivian people and achieve Excellence in Health as a nation.

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