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Seychelles President Michel calls for greater monitoring of HIV/AIDS cases

Seychelles President Michel calls for greater monitoring of HIV/AIDS cases (Forimmediaterelease.net) Statistics from the Seychelles Ministry of Health shows that there are 491 new HIV/AIDS cases discovered in Seychelles within the last five years, which makes an average of 50 new cases per year.

Addressing the National Aids council meeting this morning, Seychelles President James Michel, who is also the Chairman of the council, called for bold and focused interventions in finding solutions to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“We could have done more to reduce the stigmatization of HIV and AIDS that remains pervasive and strong in our society. We should have been more attentive to the evolution of the epidemic in key population groups and taken remedial measures earlier. We could have done better to foster more positive behavioral change, especially among our youth… more than ever before, the success or failure of our interventions will be measured. We cannot wait that long to see how well we are doing, lest we fall behind the dynamics of the epidemic. This is why it is most important that the monitoring and evaluation framework and mechanisms are established and made to function efficiently. Equally, we cannot afford to wait 5 more years to see how badly we have failed or how little we have achieved. The cost will be too high,” said President Michel

President Michel noted the comprehensive reviews of both the National Strategic Plan and Policy for HIV, AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases that were undertaken earlier this year, which pointed to a multitude of achievements and also highlighted many shortcomings.

“The National Strategic Plan, on paper, has no meaning until every word is transformed into concrete action. These documents should not be left in a corner or in a drawer to gather dust and mold… My government has given its commitment to making the resources available for the challenge that we face,” added President Michel.

The President stressed on the practices that are fanning the epidemic of HIV and STIs and other co-infections like Hepatitis C, such as the risk of having multiple sexual partners, engaging in unsafe sexual practices, injecting illicit drugs, and sharing contaminated needles and stigmatization and fear of taking an HIV test.

President Michel also commented on the great relevance that the National Dialogue on Social Renaissance has in regards to the fight against the pandemic.

“We must address through reflection and dialogue social mores and behavior that have a direct impact on the HVI/AIDS epidemic and which can transform established mindset in both prevention and care. Cultural values, social interaction, and a new moral psychology will inform the development of health policies that will deliver long term dividends… It is the responsibility of every citizen to contribute in whatever way that we can to its abatement. Let us all rise to this great challenge for the sake of our children and a better tomorrow. Let us all rise to it and overcome it,” said President Michel.

PHOTO: President Michel addressing the meeting / Photo from Seychelles Tourism Board

MEDIA CONTACT: Alain St.Ange, CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board, Email: alain.s@seychelles.com

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