The Chairman of the National AIDS Commission of Liberia, Dr. Ivan F. Camanor, has disclosed that the Ebola virus disease outbreak has negatively affected the national HIV response in the country.
Dr. Camanor told a news conference yesterday that the closure of health facilities during the Ebola outbreak made it difficult for people living with HIV to access treatment.
According to him, those people “never had access to counseling and testing centers in the country.” He said it was impossible to hold meetings with support groups of people living with HIV because of the ban on public gatherings following the outbreak.
Dr. Camanor noted that as a result of the challenges, the National AIDs and STI Control program (NACP) has opened an emergency treatment center at its head office on the compound of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Sinkor. He disclosed that centers have also been established throughout the country to provide treatment for people living with HIV while more drugs to last for longer periods have been dispensed to HIV patients.
Dr. Camanor’s press conference commenced the commemoration of this year’s World AIDS Day observed across the world on December 1.
The theme of this year’s observance, is ‘Close the Gap’.
He indicated that gaps are found in the areas of prevention, treatment, the need to place more people in treatment, the prevention of HIV infection in children and the issue of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.
Despite all the challenges, Dr. Camanor was hopeful, noting, “I would like to use this opportunity to state that all is not lost. There are positive signs of progress on the horizon.”