The Chairperson of the National AIDS Commission (NAC) of Liberia has revealed that a total of 39 144 persons are currently living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the country.
Of this number, NAC Executive Director, Theodosia S. Kolee, said only 12 144 know that they are infected or are aware of their status.
Kolee made the revelation in Monrovia on Tuesday, 9 July 2019, at the start of a three-day HIV and AIDS Consultation of church leaders and faith actors organized by the Liberia Council of Churches.
According to her, about 12 120 of the total number are on treatment and 6 593 have their viral load suppressed, noting that this is “a work in progress.”
These figures, Kolee said, present a glaring picture that the solution to meeting the 90-90-90 target to end the HIV epidemic by 2020 cannot be done by one government institution or group in isolation of a combined effort because “mainstreaming HIV is a public health concern.”
Madam Kolee added: “So, as you go through these three days of brainstorming, be reminded of the critical role you have to play in the achievement of the 2020 and 2030 targets by urging your congregation to know their status and accept persons living with the virus”.
She stressed that the hard reality is that people living with HIV are also Christians and Muslims who worship at various churches and mosques in the country, and that stigmatizing or discriminating against them is the worst thing to do because it will create grounds for new infections and defeat the purpose of treatment adherence.
She indicated that the National AIDS Commission remains committed to continuously working with partners to mainstream HIV response in every sector of the country.
Madam Kolee noted that the forum organized by LCC signifies the willingness of all stakeholders in the country to work together to increase the wake-up call awareness of people “under our respective commands on the need to take preventive measures in protecting the population.”
She added that the National AIDS Commission of Liberia has the mandate of coordinating and managing the multi-sector HIV/AIDS response in the nation, considering the involvement of the LCC in the country’s HIV response as a major boost because of the strategic place the churches occupy in society.