Aids cases rise as world targets zero increase


All the same, Seychelles has joined the rest of the world in targeting at least a zero increase rate as we mark World Aids Day tomorrow under the theme, Getting to zero.

The theme has been chosen by the United Nations Joint Programme to leverage the HIV/Aids response globally.

It has three main basic principles which our Ministry of Health says “must” be adapted by all countries based on their types of epidemics.

These are: Zero new infections, an aim targeting people who are not HIV-positive, so as to reduce the risk of being catching the virus.

The second goal – Zero aids-related deaths –  is for those living with HIV and is meant to ensure they have access to treatment, care and support.

Zero discrimination is for people most at risk of getting infected and those infected with HIV to ensure the right to use all services available.

The ministry said yesterday that in Seychelles, the HIV epidemic is still on the rise and “evidence has shown the number of cases has not only increased but the modes of transmission other than sexual contact have become a public health concern”.

“Co-infection of HIV and hepatitis in injecting drug users have become a new trend of HIV infection. The results of the recent studies conducted in Seychelles have provided more accurate information on the dynamics of the epidemic in key population groups, often referred to as most at risk population.”
The ministry however notes that Seychelles has made considerable progress throughout the past 25 years in the national response and these have been mainly in prevention, treatment, care and support. To name just a few the following have been the country’s top priorities:

The development of a national Aids council chaired by President James Michel to provide leadership and guidance for the national response to HIV/Aids and sexually transmitted diseases is seen as one of the country’s strong points as it shows political commitment from the top level.

A series of  activities are scheduled to take place on the three islands to mark the day.
They are being spearheaded by ministries, private sector, non-governmental, faith based and community based organisations.

“To further mainstream HIV, the ministry, in collaboration with the environment department will be planting 25 trees at one of the health facilities as a symbol of unity in the fight against HIV/Aids in Seychelles.”

Among the activities planned for tomorrow is a gala night at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay resort, a mass beginning at 9am at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, educational talks on Silhouette, an open day at the playground in Victoria, screening for HIV at the Au Cap district administrator’s office and a forum for young people at the Seychelles Tourism Academy.

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