Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe attended the celebration of the World AIDS Day 2019, taken place at the Union Hall in Kyaikkasan Sports Ground in Yangon yesterday morning.
At the event, the Union Minister said Myanmar has adopted the National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS (2016-2020), and preparing for extending of the plan to 2021-2025 period for prevention and treatments in coordination with the HIV programme and partner organizations to cover the whole country.
The lack of health knowledge, no access to preventive measures, drug injections into veins, sexual intercourse with women sex workers, male homosexuality, prisoners and migrate workers are mostly included in the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The Union Minister said that an estimated 237,000 people have been infected with HIV in 2018, and 0.57 per cent of them has suffered AIDS.
The newly infected cases in 2000 was 29,000 at the recorded rate, and declined to 10,000 in 2018. The figures also showed that the new cases were mainly found at the people who injected drugs (also known as PWID), female sex workers, and male to male sex contacts.
The highest infection rates were also found in Kachin State, northern Shan Sate, Sagaing Region and Yangon Region.
Medical treatments with the lifelong ART were given to 85,000 patients out of 200,000 HIV infected people in 2015, and over 175,000 patients received this medicine in September 2019, showing the figure has been double in comparing these two periods.
Over 130,000 patients were treated at the state-run health centres up to September 2019, and some patients from the INGOs and local NGOs have been transferred to the public health centres.
Although ART medicines can help the HIV patients live longer, although this medicine can cause side effects for hypertension and diabetes.
The Integrated Biological and Behavioural Survey 2017 (IBBS-2017) has showed that the number of PWID was 93,000, and the rate of HIV infection to them was 34.9 per cent.
The rate of HIV infected pregnant women has gradually declined to 0.57 per cent in 2018 from 0.84 per cent in 2011. Myanmar has targeted no mother to child transmission of HIV by 2025. The Union Minister also emphasized to continue taking seriousness in prevention of HIV infections.
Myanmar submitted a proposal to the 71st World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 2018, to become a member of Global HIV Prevention Coalition Group which is jointly operated by the World Health Organization and the UNAIDS in over 30 countries.
A fund of US$ 466 million was received for anti-AIDS program for the period from 2016 from 2020. The State contributed 20 per cent of the fund, Global Fund, 50 per cent and other organizations such as PEPFAR, Access to Health Fund and ADB also provided financial assistance.
In conducting the anti-AIDS program, efforts will be made for the essential packages for health services-HIV to reach all the persons who actually need it of the 330 townships. If there is decline in the HIV infection rate, funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment will be effectively diverted to other areas of healthcare services. It is important for all the people including female sex workers (FSW), men who have sex with men (MSM), public-based organizations to make united and harmonious efforts, and the Ministry of Health and Sports will provide all necessary help. it is a special message of this speech.
Afterwards, Chief Minister of Yangon Region U Phyo Min Thein made a speech, Country Director of UNAIDS Mr Oussama Tawil read out the UNAIDS message, Deputy Chief of Mission of US Embassy Ms. Deborah C. Lynn gave a speech on the World Aids Day, Resident Representative of WHO Dr. Stephan Paul Jost read out the message sent by the director of WHO South-East Asia Region, Chairperson Daw Khin Mar Win of Myanmar Committee for People Living with HIV, on behalf of the person infected or related with HIV gave talks. — MNA
(Translated by Aung Khin & Tin Maung Than)