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The HIV/AIDS prevention and Control Office (HAPCO) estimates that of the 740,000 people living with HIV in Ethiopia, only 400,000 are receiving antiretroviral treatment. According to HAPCO research the patients do not take the pills either through lack of awareness or negligence.
The study also indicated that around 80 percent of women and 70 percent of men have had unprotected sex. Gambela, Addis Ababa, Meklele, Nazret, Hawassa, Shakisso are seeing an increase in HIV cases.
In urban areas the HIV rate is 1.2 percent while in the countryside it is 0.6 percent. The WHO considers these numbers to be epidemic levels. It is estimated that almost 23 percent of prostitutes are living with HIV and four percent of cross country truck drivers. On average there are 21,000 new cases a year and 32 percent are between 15 to 24.
Shallo Daba, Director General of HAPCO explained to Capital concerning issues about HIV.
“Since 2000 steps have been taken which has resulted in the reduction of new HIV cases by 90 percent. However the fact that HIV is not as common now has caused people to become careless and ignorant. Fewer people are using condoms and more people are having sex with multiple partners. Now we are receiving shocking news that young children and other people are becoming infected with the virus. Another issue is that the funding for awareness creation has been decreasing; the global fund for HIV went down from USD 334 million to 194 million for Ethiopia. This means less money for purchasing medicine for patients, informing people about how to prevent the virus and antiretroviral treatment. We need more money and to raise awareness or the number of people with HIV in Ethiopia will increase.”
Currently all government offices allocate two percent of annual budget for HIV/ AIDS prevention.
Acquired immune Deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a viral disease caused by human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that is usually found in body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and the breast milk of infected persons. The virus can be transferred from one infected person to another, mostly through sexual intercourse and sharing of unsterilized instruments like blades, knives, and syringesg