Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Liberia Creates Five-Year Plan to Combat HIV/AIDS

Last Thursday in Monrovia, The National AIDS Commission of Liberia launched their five-year National AIDS and HIV Strategic Framework. The framework has two goals: to contain HIV prevalence among the general population to below 1.5 precent by 2014, and to mitigate the impact of the epidemic. As of 2007 the average HIV infection rate in Liberia was 1.5 percent among those age 15-49, but among woman it was 1.7 percent. The new strategy hopes to address this disparity.

The new framework will involve improving coverage and quality of existing prevention, care and treatment services, and strengthening the involvement of non-health government sectors, civil society and the private sector. A Secretariat for the National AIDS Commission has been established, as well as an initiative for the prevention of mother to child transmission efforts, strengthening of blood safety, provision of post-exposure prophylaxis and condoms, and awareness raising.

Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary-General for Rule of Law said, "The prevalence of HIV in Liberia may be low. However, HIV steadily marches on. And now, rather than later, is the best time for us to rally around Liberia in preventing the HIV from spreading. We cannot allow Liberia to suffer such a fate, in addition to the challenges of extreme levels of poverty and unacceptably high levels of sexual and gender based violence."

- Clara Hill