UNAIDS calls for male engagement in fight against HIV/Aids

06 Dec 2017 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 06 N0V (NAMPA) – The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has called for the involvement of all Namibian men in accessing health facilities to control the spread of HIV in the country.
Speaking at a belated World AIDS Day commemoration in Windhoek on Wednesday, UNAIDS Country Director, Tharcisse Barihuta said the Ministry of Health and Social Services on Friday released a National Statistics Framework at the national World AIDS Day celebrations in Katima Mulilo.
Barihuta said a specific section focusing on men indicated that they are less likely to take an HIV test or access antiretroviral (ARV) therapy and are more likely to die of Aids related illnesses as compared to women.
He outlined three possible ways to involve men to help achieve the global target of 90-90-90, aimed at arresting the Aids pandemic.
First is to involve men as clients of health services.
“This will help increase male screenings and encourage access to health treatment including ARV coverage and viral supression,” Barihuta explained.
Second is to engage men as partners during antenatal care.
“This will improve the health of the man and that of his partner,” said Barihuta.
Last is by involving men as agents of change to transform harmful gender norms and also reduce gender based violence.
The 90-90-90 target is explained as that by 2020, 90 per cent of people should know their HIV status, 90 per cent of those diagnosed with HIV should be on treatment and 90 per cent of those on treatment should be healthy and no longer transmit HIV.
Barihuta emphasised that active male engagement will help break the chain of transmission and accelerate achievement of targets for a healthy society.