Sierra Leone’s big fight against HIV/AIDS rages
By Pasco Temple :
Sierra Leone’s National HIV/Aids Secretariat director Dr. Brima Kargbo has disclosed that the world is unanimous in assiduously working towards an “Aids –free generation”. Speaking to a cross section of Sierra Leoneans in United States of America soon after the conclusion of this year’s 2012 Aids Summit held in Washington DC, Dr. Brima Kargbo said more than thirty six thousand participants were in attendance at this year’s summit. He advised sierra Leoneans to remain cautious, as the AIDS infection rate in Sierra Leone remains low. (Photo: Activists turning the tide on epidemic)
According to Dr. Brima Kargbo, “an AIDS-free generation entails that first, no one will be born with the virus; second, as people get older, they will be at a far lower risk of becoming infected than they are today; and third, that if they do acquire HIV, they will get treatment that keeps them healthy and prevents them from transmitting the virus to others.”
Dr. Brima Kargbo recalled United States of America’s Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton’s November 8, 2011 declaration, “we can create an AIDS-Free Generation” and said the fight against Aids is unfalteringly moving towards that direction. “With the support of United States of America’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other agencies across the US government”, Dr. Brima Kargbo said tremendous progress have been made.
Dr Brima Kargbo, Direvtor Sierra Leone AIDS Secretariat
Quoting Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, Dr. Kargbo said “PEPFAR and other agencies across the government have been working to put us on the path to an AIDS-Free Generation by focusing on “combination prevention – condoms, counseling and testing, and special emphasis on three core interventions: treatment as prevention, voluntary medical male circumcision, and stopping the transmission of HIV from mothers to children.
According to Secretary of State Clinton, funding nearly 600,000 more people since December- meaning “PEPFAR is reaching nearly 4.5 million people now – on track to meet the President’s goal of treating 6 million people by the end of 2013; Supporting more than 400,000 male circumcision procedures since December; and Reaching more than 370,000 women globally, putting PEPFAR on track to meet its target of reaching an additional 1.5 million women by the end of 2013.
According to Dr. Kargbo, creating an AIDS-Free Generation requires addressing the critical needs of people living with HIV, including women, orphans and vulnerable children, and key populations at high-risk of contracting HIV.
“That is why Secretary of State Clinton “called upon Ambassador Goosby to take the lead on developing a blueprint by World AIDS Day 2012 that will outline the goals and objectives for the next phase of our effort to achieve an AIDS-Free Generation. “She also emphasized that other countries needed to step up to the plate and do their part, by supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.
“In addition, Secretary Clinton announced an additional $80 million to support innovative approaches that ensure HIV-positive pregnant women get the treatment they need to protect themselves, their babies, and their partners;
“An additional $40 million to support South Africa’s plans to provide voluntary medical male circumcisions for almost half a million boys and men in the coming year; $15 million for implementation research to identify the specific interventions that are most effective for reaching key populations;
$20 million to launch a challenge fund that will support country-led plans to expand services for their key populations; and
$2 million investment in the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund to bolster the efforts of civil society groups in addressing key populations.
Some members of the Sierra Leoneans addressed include Amadu Daramy, Mustapha Bai Attila and a host of others.