Afro Ark helped 142 female sex workers to get tested for HIV

By The Inspirer writer.

142 young people who are among the key population in Matimba Sector, Nyagatare District were tested for HIV/AIDS and among them 46 who were found positive were immediately enrolled for treatment while 45 were facilitated to get family planning services.

This initiative was organised by afro Ark, a community based youth-led organization last week where peer educators were trained to train others along with testing and counseling.

During this activity, stakeholders did an evaluation meeting where challenges and recommendations were shared.

HIV prevalence in Nyagatare district is at 1. 7% while the whole country’s HIV prevalence remains at 3 percent. 45. 8% HIV prevalence among female sex workers aged 15-49 years (4 percent among women and 2 percent among men) as per the Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (RDHS) 2014-15.

Afro Ark is supported by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to implement all these activities in line with preventing and combating HIV/AIDS.

“As Afro Ark, we are appreciate the support from UNAIDS in fighting HIV/AIDS among key population in Nyagatare district. It is such a long journey to get the 95 95 95 target by 2030 but we believe it will be achieved through the collaboration with Partners and stakeholders fighting the same fight.” Said Patience Iribagiza, Executive Director of Afro Ark.

Patience Iribagiza, Executive Director of Afro Ark said that the next activities of Afro Ark will see the expansion of HTC among Key and priority populations in other sectors of Nyagatare district.

Challenges

Despites the achievements and progress made so far, Iribagiza said that there are still some challenges like community’s knowledge on how to end new HIV infections and enrollment on treatment which is still low.

“There is a need for increased local leadership involvement. Stigma and discrimination around key population as they are considered visitors since they are not able to construct their own houses is also a challenge. We also need local leaders’ presence in community campaigns to encourage more people to go for HTC and enroll on treatment for HIV patients.” She noted.

She said that Afro Ark needs to scale up HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC) among Key and priority populations in other sectors of Nyagatare district during its next activities so that they reach their goals of reducing HIV.

HIV prevalence in Nyagatare district is at 1. 7% while the whole country’s HIV prevalence remains at 3 percent. 45. 8% HIV prevalence among female sex workers aged 15-49 years (4 percent among women and 2 percent among men) as per the Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (RDHS) 2014-15.

In November 2019, Afro Ark in Partnership with UNAIDS and Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) held a Stakeholders meeting in Nyagatare District with the subject to end HIV/AIDS among Key Population.

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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