GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: HIV prevalence has steadily declined in Somalia in the last 14 years, the WHO has said but warned against laxity noting some regions in the country remained more susceptible.
According to WHO, the most recent survey conducted during 2018 showed that average antenatal HIV prevalence across the country stood at 0.1% for all states. By geographical area, it was at 0.15% in Somaliland, 0.17% in Puntland and 0.04% in other federal member states.
“The low HIV prevalence in Somalia can be attributed to Somali culture and society, and few risk factors as a result of behaviour,” said Dr Sadia Abdisamad Abdullahi, National HIV/AIDS Programme Manager.
However, WHO has warned that despite the general decline in HIV prevalence across Somalia, there are locations such as Garowe and Bosasso in Puntland where the infection rates have merely leveled off, with the risk of increasing yet again.
This year’s global World AIDS Day, which fell on Wednesday, is being held under the theme “End inequalities. End AIDS.”
“Early testing and treatment can help people with HIV to battle this disease in good time,” said WHO Representative to Somalia Mamunur Rahman Malik in a statement issued to mark World AIDS Day in Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
“We must all work together to put an end to inequalities that leave Somalis out of the health service system. Decision-makers, health facilities, families and individuals all need to provide support to people living with HIV and prevent the spread of this disease,” added Malik.
Given that HIV remains a major public health issue and is still a pandemic around the world, WHO is calling on global leaders and communities to rally to address the inequalities that drive AIDS and to try to reach those who do not have access to essential HIV services.