MOYO. The Moyo district HIV focal point person has called for the involvement of people living with HIV in different government programs if the pandemic is to end in the country.

Mr Micheal Adrawa made the call on Tuesday at Moyo district health office during the commemoration of international world AIDS day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.

According to Adrawa, stigma has remained the greatest challenge facing the positive living in Moyo district. But he said ending HIV requires 75 per cent involvement of people living with the virus into the various wealth creation programs in the district so that they can live a meaningful life.

“Out of 16,133 people who were tested in the district during last financial year, 185 results turned positive. This number was in the sub counties of Dufile, Laropi, Lefori, Metu, Moyo Sub County and Moyo town council,” Adrawa said.

“Majority of those who tested positive were from Moyo town council with 70 cases out of 185 and this might be as a result of reflex behavior of the community in contracting the disease,” added.

Moyo district has an HIV prevalence rate of 1.1 per cent.

Currently, Moyo district has a total of 1, 352 people enrolled on Antiretroviral Therapy (ARV) under the first line while 115 others are on the second line from the onset of HIV outbreak in the district.

Ms Vicky Mundu, the executive director of Moyo AIDS heroes association (MAHA) observed that many people living with HIV are facing the challenge of transport in accessing medications from health facilities.

She said during the lockdown, they lost many of their clients due to transport challenges as others are living over 3 kilometers away from health facilities thus affecting adherence.

Mundua also stressed that lack of food for the positive living people during the lockdown was another serious challenge as many people living with HIV could not operate their petty businesses to earn a living.

Mundua said as a result, some of the children living with HIV in the district have been abandoned by their care-takers due to the economic hardship caused by Covid-19.

She, however, urged the people living with HIV in the district to adhere to medication as prescribed in order to end the disease by the year 2030.

Mr Robert Mawadri, an official of infectious disease institute (IDI) at Moyo general hospital said stigma and discrimination against persons living with HID/AIDS is still high among young persons and adolescents in the district.

“The people living with HIV are not the problem themselves and they should not be discriminated against. We should work together to fight HIV related stigma and discrimination. We must protect people living with HIV against gender-based violence and it is our responsibility to ensure positively living people adhere to their treatment,” Mawadri advised.