Three members of this year’s delegation to the 16th Colloquium on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis in the Indian Ocean, shared their experience and the way forward for Seychelles in an interview on Thursday 30th November 2017.
Addressing the role of the community, Dr Anne Gabriel, CEO of National AIDS Council, Ms Maryline Hollanda, Sexologist by profession and Programme Manager, at the Ministry of Health, and Mr Jacques Koui representing the Association for Solidarity for the Family (ASFF), called on the fight to become more united.
“The colloquium is an excellent platform for countries to meet and share their experiences. It also allows for cooperation across various communities,” Dr Gabriel who was also the head of the delegation said. “There was the participation of various organisations from Seychelles and from the other countries who came together in the workshops.”
This year, the Seychelles delegation who attended the three day meeting in Comoros consisted of 12 members from various organisations across the country including the Ministry of Health, National AIDS Councils, Association for Solidarity for the Family, Drug Users Network Seychelles amongst others.
“The fight against AIDS is not only for the health sector,” Mr Koui said. “It also has a great part that is also social. Therefore, we need to rally people who are infected and those who are affected as well as people who are concerned.”
An annual event, the colloquium is hosted by the different countries who attend. These are Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, Madagascar and Reunion. The main aim is to review the challenges that are being faced and means that can be employed to overcome these.
A special focus was placed this year in achieving the 90-90-90 targets set by UNAIDS. The targets were launched in 2014 to accelerate progress so that, by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV are accessing sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people accessing antiretroviral therapy are virally suppressed.
The interview is one of the several activities being organised to commemorate World AIDS Day, which is observed every year on the 1st December. This year marks 29 years in the global fight against HIV/AIDS and activities are being coordinated under the theme ‘My Health, My Right’.
According to the latest fact sheet from the World Health Organisation, HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having killed more 35 million people. In Seychelles more than 160 people have died from AIDS, including 10 in 2017. There were approximately 36.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2016 with 1.8 million people becoming newly infected in 2016 globally. 95 new cases has been detected in Seychelles as of the start of 2017.
Members of the public are invited to attend the launching of World AIDS Day 2017 which will be a solidarity march from the Ministry of Health headquarters to the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS) on Friday 1st December 2017 as from 1.30pm.