Human Touch Foundation calls for bold response to HIV in Goa
Panaji, 30th November 2018— Human Touch Foundation called on all stakeholders and state government to take unprecedented and bold actions to advance efforts to end AIDS in the state by 2030 on the eve of World AIDS Day.
Members of Human Touch Foundation, adolescents living with HIV and officials of Goa State AIDS Control Society gathered today at the Positive Power Summit to review progress in achieving the targets towards ending AIDS by 2030 which was attended by Hon. Minister for Health, Shri Vishwajit Rane.
The Summit organized by Human Touch Foundation reported on gaps encountered while implementing interventions with adolescent living with HIV and highlighted critical challenges that require immediate interventions in order to accelerate progress towards reaching the HIV fast-track targets.
Need to fast-track the HIV response in the Goa
AIDS is not over in Goa and there is no room for complacency. There is a big risk of the epidemic rebounding and an increase in mortality, said Peter F. Borges while delivery a key note address at the summit. If we are going to end AIDS, we must cure the disease in our hearts and minds first, he further said.
A core group will be formed to sort out issues related to the health care system in the space of HIV. A road map towards making a centre of excellence for the state of Goa by 2030 would be prepared with wider consultation with the stakeholders, said Vishwajit Rane, speaking on the occasion. He further stated that all the issues shared by the children living with HIV will be addressed with priority.
“The time to accelerate our efforts is now. We cannot stop new HIV infections in the Goa if we stick to business as usual. We need renewed commitment to our HIV responses, bold political leadership, community support and honouring the promise to leave no one behind” said Peter F. Borges.
Priorities to scale up action in the Goa
Retaining people on treatment in the cascade is a biggest challenge and this is an area which will be given more attention. Besides with viral load initiation, treatment monitoring is a priority, said Dr. Jose D’Sa, Project Director, Goa State AIDS Control Society. He further said that community testing will be introduced for wider coverage of HIV testing and will be linked to treatment and retained in care.
Adolescents populations continue to face stigma and discrimination that prevent them from accessing services and taking actions to protect their health. “It is clear that when we leave someone behind, we have not only lost the battle with HIV, but we have also lost the opportunity to make our state just and equitable for all people, no matter who or what they are” said Peter F. Borges
Hon. Minister for Health being felicitated by Peter F. Borges, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Human Touch Foundation