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Rwanda Targets Zero HIV Stigma and Discrimination by 2020
African News
March 3, 2017

Rwanda has reaffirmed its commitment to end HIV-related stigma and discrimination among HIV positive persons by 2020, says Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).

HIV-related stigma and discrimination continues to endanger Rwandans living with HIV, and it still prevents people from coming forward for testing, prevention and treatment services.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Ribarakare Mpundu, an officer in charge of care and treatment at RBC said that stigma associated with HIV and AIDS causes some people to deny the risks of infection and avoid being tested, while others hide their infection and avoid seeking support and treatment.

"We are looking forward to various campaigns to mobilize people to end HIV stigma and link them to stigma-free HIV testing, treatment and care by 2020. We believe that if all the infected people would follow guidance and take their treatment seriously, no one would be dying of the virus," he added.

Mpundu noted that between 2010 and 2015 about 50 cases of people living with HIV reported to have faced stigma.

Available statistics from the Rwanda ministry of health indicate HIV prevalence stands at 3.1 percent in the country.

At least 10,000 people are infected with the virus every year. About 80,200 infected people are on anti-retroviral drugs, the ministry statistics add.

The ministry says 81 percent of the HIV-positive persons have been responding positively to treatment extended to them through various channels.

Last year, the government of Rwanda launched the Treat All programme aiming at putting on treatment whoever tests HIV positive.

The campaign seeks to end any form of stigma and discrimination associated with the virus.


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