6 February 2016

Ethiopia: Office Calls for Collaborative Work On HIV & Aids, Gender Issues

The Federal HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO) emphasized that the media should work in collaboration with responsible stakeholders on mainstreaming the issues of HIV and AIDS and gender. The epidemic is still the most prevalent threat in sub-Saharan Africa.

HAPCO, Family Health International 360 and Catholic Relief Society have organized a three-day training for journalists on ways of working together to raise public awareness with a view to eliminating AIDS by 2030 and publicizing gender issues.

HAPCO Deputy Director General Alemu Anno said while opening the training that gender, HIV and AIDS prevention and the work of the media are interrelated tasks that should be worked out jointly in partnership in a bid to curb its effects.

The Deputy Director added that utmost efforts need to be exerted to maintain the decreasing prevalence of new HIV infection cases through working jointly with religious institutions, community based organizations and the media by allowing all people living with HIV to use antiretroviral therapy, making all people know their blood status through testing and radically decreasing AIDS related deaths by the year 2030 through ample investment in AIDS response.

Alemu further explained that journalists should consider issues of gender and HIV and AIDS in their day-to-day duties. "HIV and AIDS has an adverse effect on every citizen and directly and indirectly affects the development of the nation."

HAPCO Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate Director Dr. Achamyeleh Alebachew in his presentation entitled 'Epidemiology of HIV: Ethiopia's Response and Future Directions, said that, "the epidemic is still sensitive in that today close to 37 million people are positive in the world of which some 26 million live in sub-Saharan Africa out of the total 750 million people in the continent."

Ethiopia is working on preventing the exposure of women to HIV and AIDS especially youths due to physiological, economic, socio-cultural, lack of information and gender based violence, he said. "The estimated total number of people living with HIV and AIDS in 2015 was over 700,000 in Ethiopia."

Dr. Achamyeleh stressed on advocacy, mainstreaming, empowering women, strengthening community mobilization, working on gender sensitive HIV services with strong collaboration across relevant sectors through public mobilization and engaging leaders at all levels.

According to recent studies, only 54 percent of the world population have known their blood test result and organized efforts are needed to solve the new infection tendency and gender inequity and inequality cases so as to manage in eliminating AIDS by 2030 from the nation.

Gender, HIV and AIDS and communication of these issues to raise the awareness level of the public were the major points of the discussion during the training.

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