The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Anglican Church Takes Anti-HIV Drive to Bugesera

In a bid to fight against HIV/Aids in Bugesera district, the Anglican Church in partnership with the district has started an awareness campaign to equip communities with basic knowledge about the scourge and how to fight it.

According to a statement from the church, the campaign started in Shyara Sector, Bugesera District in the Eastern Province.

Shyara is one of the sectors in the district that has been identified as most vulnerable due to the many polygamous marriages, according to officials.

According to Pastor Etienne Gahigi, the head of the Anglican Church in the district, they encourage those already infected to go for antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

Chantal Uwingabiye, the head of the National Women Council in Bugesera District said that Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a still a challenge in the area yet it's closely related to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

"We have not only sensitised people on protecting themselves against HIV/Aids. We have also told them to report the cases of GBV to the local authorities," she said, adding that GBV is closely related to the escalation of HIV cases.

She said that they are registering big numbers for their campaigns, involving mainly the youth.

"We are also promoting behavioral change among the youth to stop further spread of this epidemic in the district," she noted.

The HIV/Aids prevalence in Bugesera district stands at 4 per cent while at the national level it is three per cent.

According to the United Nations' World AIDS Day Report 2012 Rwanda was reported among 25 low- and middle-income countries that have managed to halve their rate of new HIV infections since 2001. Countries are making historic gains towards ending the AIDS epidemic with 700,000 fewer new HIV infections across the world in 2011 than in 2001.

Rwanda, Gabon, and Togo, are some of the countries which achieved significant declines of more than 50 per cent, according to the report released last month.

Rwanda has also stepped up efforts to prevent new HIV infections to achieve the 2015 global target of zero new infections.

The country's efforts in HIV/AIDS fight are due to several initiatives in place, including adequate supply of anti-retroviral therapy (ARVs).

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