Officials Fear Progress in War on HIV Stalling

ADDIS ABABA – Government offices urged to cooperate more in an effort to stop HIV/Aids infection as the progress in tackling the virus stalls.

Ethiopia is working to prevent more than half a million HIV/AIDS-related deaths and up to 80,000 new HIV infections by 2020.

The target is part of the second five-year national Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II), which started in 2016. The progress stalled over the past two years.

Government reports show more than 13,300 Ethiopians die due to HIV/AIDS while the same number of people get infected for the two years in a row.

“The virus is mainly affecting women and youth in Ethiopia,” said Simegn Wube, state minister of women, youth and children. She said government ministries should renew their effort before the whole achievement in tacking the virus regresse.

In some cases, officials say, the trend shows an increase in the number of HIV virus infections, especially among big truck drivers and sex workers.

Federal HIV/AIDS prevention and control office attributed to the decrease in the federal government’s budget as well as decreasing interest in major government offices as a reason for the stall.

Tsigereda Kifle (Ph.D.), general manager the office, said there are “misconceptions” that impact the virus has become insignificant, and its only government’s duty to work against this deadly virus.

“We all must work together, and urge our people to start caring about their lives,” she said.

Researches show that there are about 610,335 peoples living with HIV virus in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is among only a few countries in Africa that are within reach of meeting the UNAIDS treatment goals by 2020, namely: having 90 percent of those infected know their status; having 90 percent of those diagnosed receive treatment, and having 90 percent of those receiving treatment achieve viral suppression.

By Mhret G/Kristos