WHO sees decline of HIV prevalence in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday it has in partnership with Somalia managed to keep the HIV/Aids prevalence in the country on a steady decline from above 1 percent in 2013 to 0.10 percent in 2022.

In a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia to mark World Aids Day, the WHO said that together with the ministry of health, they have managed to keep the country since 2014 classified as a low-level HIV epidemic country.

"This success rate has been achieved on account of WHO's close monitoring of the HIV/AIDS situation in the country including ensuring equitable access to patient care, close follow-up of patients who are on ART and regular monitoring of clinical conditions of the HIV/AIDS patients," WHO said.

It said the HIV prevalence among the general population has seen statistically a significant decline, with the most recent 2018 sentinel survey showing that antenatal HIV prevalence dropped to 0.15 percent in Somaliland, 0.17 percent in Puntland and 0.04 percent in South Central Somalia.

William Rogers Busulwa, WHO's Medical Officer for HIV/AIDS welcomed the reported decline in the prevalence of AIDS in Somalia but noted that more efforts are still needed to contain the situation.

"We still have a lot of ground to cover to ensure that communities and especially high-risk segments of society are regularly and consistently engaged for raising awareness about the deadly disease, in addition to infected people are given equitable means of getting treatment without any fear of ostracization," Busulwa said.

WHO called on global leaders and citizens to boldly recognize and address the inequalities which are holding back progress in ending AIDS, and equalize access to essential HIV services, particularly for children and key population groups who are at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

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