With new HIV infections reported round the country, gains made in the fight against this scourge are being eroded. It is particularly worrying that at least 40 per cent of the newly reported infection cases affect the youth in the 15 to 24 years age bracket.
These revelations were made during the 10th Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) celebrations recently.
Indeed, the red flag on new cases of HIV infections and drug resistant strains of the virus was raised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) mid last year.
With these developments, without a cure yet and the likelihood of 105,000 new cases in the next five years, eradicating HIV/Aids by the year 2030 is going to be a tall order. Sexual abstinence is the only guarantee against new HIV infections, but the exponential increase in new infections, especially among the youth, points to a decline in moral values.
The decision to stem the spread of Aids starts with the individual, hence the need for responsible behavior. The cost of managing HIV infections is prohibitive, not just to the Government, but families of those infected as well.
NGOs have, in the past, played a critical role in managing HIV infections, but new Government regulations limited the activities of most of them. As a result, victims who depended on free Anti Retro-Viral drugs from the NGOs could not afford the medication.
Skipping medication has given birth to drug resistant strains of HIV. Collectively, we must fight this scourge.