THE United Nations Population fund (UNFPA), has called on African governments to invest heavily towards HIV prevention measures so as to reduce the growing burden of new HIV infections amongst young adolescent girls and women in East and Southern Africa.
By Michael Gwarisa in Narobi, Kenya
Briefing Journalists during the ICPD summit Media consultation and orientation workshop on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), UNFPA ESARO SRHR/HIV Technical Specialist, Richard Delate said even though new infections had reduced amongst the adult population, the young female population was under siege.
I want to put it on record that in our region, HIV is not over, we still have a lot of work to do on HIV and AIDS. Even though we are seeing decreases in new infections in some African countries, it’s not quite promising.
“Eswathini together with Uganda are leading the way in terms of reducing new HIV infections. But the reality is that in 2016, we promised to reduce new HIV infections by 75 percent by 2020 but as you can see, we are way below that, we are not going to reach that. What is worrying is that we are witnessing new spikes in HIV infection especially in Madagascar,” said Delate.
He added that high new HIV infections have been recorded in Madagascar, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Burundi and Botswana.
The bars in red indicate countries with rising new HIV infections (Source UNFPA ESARO)
“Since 2010, there has been significant progress in controlling new HIV infections among adults in several countries but other countries lag behind. These are really some of the issues that we really need to start looking at and ask why we have these increases and find ways of preventing them.
“What we know is that 28 percent of all new adult HIV infections are amongst adolescent girls and young women between the ages 15 to 24. Young women and girls make up to 3, 600 to 3,800 new infections weekly.”
Meanwhile, the ICPD summit which officially kicks off tomorrow (November,12, 2019) running under the theme, “Accelerating the promise” will see various governments making new commitments in order to advance quality sexual and reproductive health services to all populations including adolescent young girls and women.