Seychelles represented at HIV/Aids colloquium in Reunion |20 November 2019
Around 200 participants from the Indian Ocean countries including Seychelles are in Reunion Island to attend the 18th Indian Ocean colloquium on HIV/Aids which got underway at Le Recif Hotel, St Gilles on Monday.
Seychelles is being represented at the Indian Ocean colloquium on HIV/Aids by a 16-member delegation led by Dr Anne Gabriel.
This year’s theme is ‘VIH, santé sexuelle, santé globale’ (HIV, Sexual Health, Global Health).
The participating countries are Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Reunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues.
They include experts in HIV/Aids, medical practitioners, activists, civil society and persons living with HIV.
Monday’s session started with presentations by all participating countries on the status of HIV/Aids, Hepatitis, and Addiction in their respective countries.
During the three-day meeting, participants will be addressing a number of issues include non-medical factors which may impact the spread of HIV, women as a vulnerable group, sexuality and migration, elderly persons living with HIV, new antiretroviral treatment available, and UNAids target of achieving 90-90-90 by 2030, an ambitious treatment target to help end the epidemic, whereby 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
The chief executive of the National Aids Council, Dr Anne Gabriel, says Seychelles is doing well on the second and third targets but more resources are needed to reach the first target.
“We need more resources both in terms of equipment needed for the tests and human resources to help carry out these tests. 90% of the population represents around seventy-thousand people in the population and if we get adequate resources, we hope to achieve this objective by the end of 2020. Already there has been an increase in the number of tests carried out this year, with 25,000 people covered compared to 17,000 last year,” said Dr Gabriel.
With regard to access to treatment and suppressing transmission, Dr Gabriel said so far Seychelles is right on track with 91 percent of patients accessing antiretroviral treatment.
“From January this year to September, around a hundred persons have been put on treatment and this is a good sign. We do hope that the remaining 9 percent of people living with HIV would also come forward to seek treatment,” she added.
120 new cases of HIV were detected in Seychelles last year and to date there are 53 new cases for 2019.
Men are the most affected and the age group with the most infections is between 15 and 24 years old.
Patsy Athanase in Reunion