Govt making efforts for HIV prevention: Health minister

The Nation  |  Dec 02, 2022

 Govt making efforts for HIV prevention: Health minister
ISLAMABAD       -       Federal Minister Abdul Qadir Patel has said that the incumbent government despite competing priorities and fiscal limitations, and with the support of partners has strived to provide HIV prevention and treatment services through high impact community-based HIV prevention programme. He said this while addressing an event organized by the Health Ministry the World AIDS Day 2022 in collaboration with its partners including Common Management Unit for AIDS, TB and Malaria, UNAIDS, WHO, UNDP UNICEF, UNFPA, UNODC and APLHIV here on Thursday. This year theme of the World AIDS Day is “Equalize”, this slogan is a call to action to increase availability, quality of services for HIV treatment, testing and prevention. Equalize calls for communities to make use of and adapt the message to highlight the particular inequalities they face and to press for the actions needed to address them. The minister said they are going to revise national and provincial AIDS Strategies, setting the plan of action in the light of global guidance. “There is a need to initiate national prevention revolution that includes all available options to stop the transmission of HIV including protection commodities, immediate initiation of antiretroviral therapy and pre-exposure prophylaxis. Specific populations and locations require additional tools,” says Mirza Nasir-ud-Din Mashhood Ahmad, Special Secretary Health. This year, the government reaffirms it support to overcome challenges pertaining to strengthening of HIV response, but also on the road ahead to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. In her remarks, Yuki Takemoto, UNAIDS Country Director, said that the Global AIDS Strategy, 2021–2026 provides a clear, evidence-informed blueprint for getting the AIDS response on track. No miraculous silver bullet is needed, using the tools already at the government’s disposal together with communities and partners simply needs to translate its commitments into concrete results for people. Aliona Niculita, Deputy Resident Representative UNDP Pakistan, emphasized the agency’s commitment to address economic, social, cultural and legal inequalities to contribute towards ending the AIDS epidemic. Swedish Ambassador to the Pakistan Ambassador Henrik Persson extending his full support to the initiative, reiterated that the time to act is now, let’s spell a new beginning to reflect on our gains and failures of yesterday to seize the countless possibilities of tomorrow for making Pakistan HIV free. While addressing to the audience Dr. Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA Representative quoted that HIV/AIDS has to be integrated in high-quality sexual and reproductive health at all levels of health care facilities to eliminate stigma and make timely interventions. In the end exhibition of artefact and handicrafts were displayed by people living with HIV, jail inmates and marginalized women and girls. Economic empowerment initiatives have become an increasingly popular approach for the prevention and mitigation of HIV.

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