NAS DG Calls for Unity to End Inequality, AIDS & Pandemics

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By Millicent Senava Mannah

The National HIV AIDS Secretariat, in collaboration with UN AIDS and other partners, has on 1st December 2021 commemorated World HIV AIDS Day during a programme that was held at the Miatta Conference Centre at Brookfields in Freetown.

This year’s commemoration is geared towards ending inequality, AIDS and pandemics.

Director General of the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS), Abdul Rahman C. Sesay, in his statement said the theme for this year’s commemoration is: “End Inequality, End AIDS & End Pandemics.”

He continued that to accomplish that all need to come together and be united to respond not only to the challenges posed by HIV and AIDS, but to other issues related to development.

Abdul Rahman C. Sesay maintained that inequalities are seen in many institutions in the country, furthering that there is need to fight hard to put an end to inequalities or to minimize such.

He revealed how there is an ongoing free Cervical Cancer screening and treatment at the King Harman Road Satellite Hospital for both women living with AIDS and those that are not affected.

Delivering the keynote address, Her Excellency the First Lady, Fatima Jabbie Bio, intimated that people living with HIV and AIDS are people and must have their own space in society and should not to be sidelined.

She continued by congratulating the National HIV and AIDS Secretariat and their partners for their continuous efforts to end AIDS in the country by 2030.

The First Lady furthered that evidence has shown that inequality increases the rapid spread of the disease and deepens the devastating impact of colliding pandemics on the most vulnerable in society.

UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Babatunde A. Ahonsi, said that structural inequalities have put women, girls and other marginalized groups at greater risk of HIV infection, maintaining that the epidemic in the country is feminized and concentrated among key populations.

He stated that although HIV prevalence among the general population remains low at 1.7%, prevalence among women aged 15 years and above is double the rate among men at 2.2% and 1.1% respectively.

He maintained that young girls 15 to 24 years are three times more likely to be infected at 1.5% compared to boys of the same age at 0.5%.

“Marginalization, stigma, and discrimination have resulted in a disproportionately high HIV prevalence among key and vulnerable population groups with prevalence ranging from 6.8 among sex workers and 15% among transgender,” he said.

Wilhemina Bah, who is one of the persons living with AIDS, said on behalf of her colleagues they appreciate the National AIDS Secretariat for their relentless effort in providing them with medicines and for their courageous advices. She encouraged her colleagues to continue to take the drugs for them to live longer.


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