The 17th Colloquium on HIV/AIDS Indian Ocean, an annual event aimed at reinforcing HIV/AIDS-related partnerships amongst stakeholders and promoting harm reduction strategies, was launched, yesterday, at the Intercontinental Mauritius Resort in Balaclava. The theme for 2018 is: "Une Région, Des Evolutions, Des Solutions... Ensemble!"
The three-day event is organised by five countries of the Indian Ocean namely: Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles. The objectives are to share information and experience on issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS; update knowledge and management of HIV infection amongst scientists, medical and paramedical personnel and service providers; and, share best practices and experiences between health personnel and civil society of the region. Around 350 participants are attending, including 125 delegates and 11 resource persons from Member States of the Indian Ocean.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, the Senior Chief Executive of the Ministry, Mr Ram Prakash Nowbuth, underlined that the HIV/AIDS Colloquium is an excellent platform for countries to meet and share their experiences and achievements in the field of HIV and other related diseases and issues.
Mauritius, Mr Nowbuth pointed out, has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals agenda which includes the firm commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 through the Fast-Track approach. It involves setting ambitious targets and accelerating the delivery of high-impact HIV prevention and treatment services; and, the 2017-2021 National HIV Action Plan that has as driver the 90-90-90 targets which are namely: diagnose 90% of all Patient Living with HIV, retain 90% of those diagnosed on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and achieve viral suppression for 90% of patients on ART.
Speaking about the epidemic of HIV and AIDS in Mauritius, the Senior Chief Executive, highlighted that it is considered to be a concentrated epidemic, with a prevalence rate of 0.88% in the population. Government is committed to reduce the prevalent rate of AIDS and is implementing several measures to facilitate access to HIV treatment and prevention, he stated. Government will continue to increase the number of effective interventions for people infected and those at risk, he added.
In 1987, the first AIDS case was registered in Mauritius, and, as at date, there are 7 327 notified cases. The estimated number of people living with the virus in Mauritius is estimated at 8 200 out of which 15% are ignorant of being contaminated. Intravenous drug users accounted 92% of the total number of cases detected in 2005 and this proportion stands at 31.1% for the period June 2018.