More needs to be done on the HIV/AIDS front: Experts

KATHMANDU: Speakers at a programme today underlined the need for strong political commitment in dealing with HIV/AIDS issues and urged the government to put in place clear national strategies and programme of action.

Director of HIV and STI Control Board (HSCB) Damar Prasad

Ghimire, said they are facing serious challenges to work in HIV/AIDS

sector. “There is no mechanism in place at the national level for assessing and reviewing of advocacy results,” said Ghimire, adding that there is a very low understanding of monitoring and advocacy among the partners.

Addressing a two-day workshop

entitled “Use of National Advocacy Plan on HIV and AIDS with Human

Rights-based Agencies”, he said,

the government and the agencies

concerned should identify the gaps

and analyse it for the formulation of

national strategy.

Rup Narayan Shrestha, advocate,

Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD), said the women

should be assured of property and reproductive rights and should have control over their body.

“Due to social stigma and discrimination, women are not encouraged to come up openly in society and are not supported by the community,” he added. Shrestha argued that housewives are particularly ignorant how vulnerable they are to HIV and AIDS. “State has to check the violation of rights by non-state actors and should provide access to reproductive health education,” he opined.

According to NCASC, adult HIV prevalence rate in Nepal is 0.49 as

of 2008. There are an estimated

70,000 HIV positive people (adult and children). Of them 29 per cent are

said to be women. The reported cases of HIV are 13,649, where women account for 4,624 cases.

Sanjay Dahal, public health officer, National Centre for AIDS and STD

Control (NCASC), said the groups

most affected are sex workers, injecting

drug users, clients of sex and

seasonal labour migrants.

Dahal blames on financial resource crunch to be able to reach out to all the affected ones, including children, women, youth and industry workers.