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HIV/AIDS Patients Failing to Receive Treatment, Health Experts Warn Featured

By April 28, 2017 1769
Ilustrasaun hetan positivu hadaet HIV/SIDA Ilustrasaun hetan positivu hadaet HIV/SIDA

DILI:  Hundreds of positive HIV and AIDS patients are failing to receive life saving medical check-ups, the Ministry of Health has said.

Of the 600 cases of HIV and AIDs reported in Timor-Leste, 211 people have not been receiving needed treatment or having medical check-ups.

For people living with HIV, taking regular antiretroviral treatment (ART) is a life-saver. It stops HIV from making copies of itself and prevents HIV from attacking the body’s immune system.

But for those who don’t stick to the ART regimen set out by medical staff or health workers they might become resistant to the drugs.

Resistance occurs when ART regimens are not taken as prescribed, which allows HIV to make copies of itself and increases the risk that the virus will mutate and produce drug-resistant HIV.

Odete Viegas, the General Director of Health, said the Ministry of Health was working with local health organisations to identify HIV patients not receiving treatment and assisting them gain health support.

“For the future we must work hard on finding ways to treat HIV and AIDS patients and discriminate them,” she said.

While testing for HIV/AIDS remains low across Timor-Lese, the number of positive cases has soared from less than 10 cases per year between 2003 and 2005, to seven-times higher figure from 2012 to 2014. 

 The National Commission of HIV/AIDS reported that more than 600 new cases had been discovered in past 13 years, with 90 news cases identified in 2016.

This comes as HIV cases across the Pacific and Asia region have spiraled to an estimated 5.1 million cases, according to findings from the UNAIDS Prevention Report 2017. Three countries, Indonesia, India and China account for around 75 percent of the total number of people living with HIV in the region.

Earlier this month the Ministry of Education said HIV and AIDs awareness would be added to the Biology secondary school curriculum and linked with religious teaching.

Daniel Marçal, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission of HIV/AIDS, welcomed the Ministry of Education’s initiative, saying better understanding among students how to prevent HIV and AIDS was needed.


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