The Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/AIDS & HP (RNGOF on HIV/AIDS & HP (RDHS), has revealed that the HIV prevalence is estimated to be relatively low at 3.0% among the general population.
However, the NGO has reported that prevalence among Key Populations (KPs) is higher in some of the groups, especially among the nationally identified KPs.
The revelation was made during a one day stakeholder’s workshop dubbed “Reduction of new HIV infection through the Promotion of Condom distribution and use among the key population and their clients” workshop that concluded at Olympic Hotel in Kimironko on Wenesday.
BSS 2015 report estimates HIV prevalence among men sex with men (MSM) is at 4.0% and Female Sex Workers (FSWs) at 45,8% nationally and 55,5% in Kigali city.
The modes of transmission in Rwanda according to the reported released in 2013, if they are to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic, should be through programs that target KPs such as FSWs, men who have sex with men (MSMs), are to contribute greatly in this journey towards ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
It was mentioned that the HIV National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2013-2018 and its extension to 2020 acknowledge three top priority roles of the Civil Society in Rwanda in the implementation of prioritized interventions.
These include: The first is to reduce new HIV infections by two thirds from 6000 to 2000 by targeting a reduction in new infections via sexual transmission in the general population; reduction of new infections in children from 1000 to 40; and to maintain low levels of blood-borne transmission;
Secondly, it was reported that HIV related deaths are reduced by ½ from 5000 to 2500 by June 2020; and HIV related morbidity is decreased; and that people infected and affected by HIV have the same opportunities as the general population.
To achieve this target, NSP believes that prevention interventions will be focusing on the drivers of new HIV infections and to ensure that all Rwandans are informed about the major modes of HIV and STI transmission and the preventive tools to reduce new HIV infection in Rwanda.
It was also reported that unprotected sexual intercourse is the main mode of HIV transmission.
DR Brenda Assiwme from Aids Health Foundation (AHF) also noted that appropriate condom use can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission and condoms are currently the most efficient and available technology to prevent new HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections among KPs and their clients.
However she pointed out that this is not the only way of preventing HIV/AID, “Condoms are the only dual protection method. There are methods that can be used like carrying out tests for one to know their status, as well as circumcision is the other and awareness campaigns are the other way.
The Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/AIDS & HP (RNGOF on HIV/AIDS & HP) was created in 1999 and is composed of 127 national NGOs and local NGOs whose mission to promote, coordinate, monitor and evaluate activities of NGOs engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Rwanda, networking and advocacy for civil society involvement in all HIV/AIDS program and policy development in order to improve the living conditions of the affected communities.
Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Division Manager, HIV/AIDS at RBC, said that every year the government of Rwanda spends $200 million to all activities related to fighting against HIV and AIDS, including distributing condoms, ARVS, testing, campaigns and human resources among others.
“Condoms are distributed through various channels including health centres, community health workers, peer educators, from boutiques, and another new way of kiosks which are set in hot spots,” he said.
The NGO’s with the support of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF Rwanda) is implementing a project focusing on reducing new HIV in Rwanda.