People do not know their status, AIDS office says

Islands

A LEAD organisation in Bougainville – the Catholic AIDS Office – says that many people in the Autonomous Region do not know their HIV status.
Bougainville Catholic AIDS Office coordinator Stella Morokana says only 2.5 per cent of the population was accessing HIV services in the last seven years since 2008 – a negative trend in the efforts to control the spread of AIDS virus.
Morokana was concerned that there was a high risk in infection mainly due to ignorance by the people to access vital HIV services and also a lack of support the relevant authorities in Bougainville.
She said the Catholic AIDS Office has been struggling from day one with very limited resources to do its work adding that if there was no Catholic AIDS Office, a lot of people would be infected by the disease.
The Catholic AIDS Office as a major partner has been providing vital services in HIV awareness and testing, anti-retroviral therapy, care and support of families living with HIV, CD4 count testing and counselling services.
Morokana said there was a need to train more HIV counsellors as there were only five full-time counsellors doing the work with the support of HIV- trained health officers in the 13 Catholic health centres.
In the past seven years – from 2008 – 2015, a total of 29,927 people were covered in HIV awareness and testings undertaken at the 13 Catholic health facilities – which is very low, while taking into account the 300,000 population of Bougainville.

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