Anti-AIDS group admits to uphill battle ahead

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 6:

Nava Kiran Plus (NKP) is holding a protest programme against the slackness on the part of the concerned government authorities with regard to the fight against HIV and AIDS, in front of the UN complex, Pulchowk, tomorrow morning. "Various commitments have been made to improve the living condition of the people living with HIV/AIDS, but we have seen no concrete measures in effect," said Rajiv Kafle, coordinator of NKP addressing a press meet today on the eve of the World Health Day.

Only 4,00,000 HIV positive people in developing world have access to the antiretroviral therapy, while six million people with HIV need it. The initiative aims at making the therapy available to three million people by 2005. Nepal had signed an agreement with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on August 13 last year. The memorandum had been signed for $18.84 million grant to fight AIDS and malaria and the money would be disbursed on an annual basis, with $2.03 million going to AIDS control programmes and $1 million going to malaria control programmes during the first year. Kafle said that the authorities were giving proper attention to make the treatment available to more people living with HIV/AIDS in Nepal. "Treatment can have an accelerating effect in prevention efforts," said Kafle.

Surendra Shah, who has been receiving the antiretroviral therapy from the NKP said that the treatment has made him stronger. "Female drug users are faced with much more difficult situation because of the prevalent social stigma," said Sonu KC adding that there was need for more rehabilitation centres and skill development training for female drug users who wished to get rid of the addiction. Parbat S Rana, senior technical advisor to NKP, said that the organisation had been involved in activities of providing treatment, care and support for people living with HIV. Shankar Kafle had presented the financial report of the organisation.