MANY men living with HIV/AIDS shun coming out for getting antiretroviral drugs (ARV) hence hindering the campaign against the deadly disease, the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) has said.
TACAIDS Executive Chairperson, Dr Fatuma Mrisho, said this in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, noting that unlike women, many men come out for the drugs while in critical condition."Tacaids is working on this problem through the Gender and AIDS programme to encourage them (men) to come out and get the ARVs," said Dr Mrisho while briefing the United Nations' special representative for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Dr Asha-Rose Migiro.
She said that statistics indicate that HIV infections are on increase among girls who are under the age of 24, saying her commission is preparing the 2013/2017 National AIDS Strategy to address the problem. Dr Mrisho added that statistics also show that HIV infections in urban areas is double that of rural areas, saying the statistics further indicate eight regions have infections above the national average.
She named the regions as Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, Iringa, Shinyanga, Tabora, Mwanza, Ruvuma and Coast Region. "So far, about 983,629 people living with HIV have already registered themselves in health centres and that about 55 per cent are getting ARVs," she said.
She pointed out that a quarter of municipalities have already completed the exercise to register orphans and that about 900,000 orphans which is equivalent to 90 per cent were provided with aid and basic services by the government. Dr Migiro, on her part, called on the commission to involve communities while planning for the programmes to fight the disease in order to have fruitful results, saying communities play a great role in facilitating the programmes to succeed.
Dr Migiro, who paid a visit to the Tacaids headquarters for the first time since she was appointed to be the UN special representative for HIV/AIDS, promised to fight stigmatization against people living with HIV/AIDS.