The National AIDS Commission of Liberia (NAC) has concluded a three-day audience insight round-table discussion with young people in Monsterrado, Grand Bassa, and Margibi Counties on strategic ways of preventing HIV and AIDS.
The forum with the young people is part of ongoing efforts being initiated by the AIDS Commission to put Liberia on par with the rest of the world in reducing HIV burden.
The discussion provided an opportunity for officials of the AIDS Commission to interact with the adolescents mostly youth on what they know about HIV modes of transmission, its effects and how the disease can be prevented.
Madam Jeneba Grigsby, Coordinator for Decentralization of the National AIDS Commission, told the youth that their involvement in finding strategic ways as it relates to the prevention of HIV/AIDS in Liberia was significant in securing healthy future for them.
She said Monsterrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa were earmarked for the discussion because these counties have high rates of HIV infection in Liberia.
She said, the outcome of the engagement would inform the AIDS Commission and partners to design appropriate and workable strategy to catch up with other countries in ensuring the achievement of a global target of HIV elimination, known as “90 90 90” by 2020.
By 2020, Liberia and the rest of the world would have ensured that 90 percent of people who are HIV infected are diagnosed, while 90 percent of people infected who are diagnosed will be placed on treatment and 90 percent of those on treatment will have virus load suppressed.
She indicated that going forward to ensuring that Liberia catches up with other countries in achieving this target, it would require partnership with young people who are at risk population.
The joined United Nations Program on AIDS (USAIDS) 2017 Spectrum estimate on HIV shows that Liberia currently has 43,000 Persons Living with HIV.
Out of the number, women account for 24,000, while men are 15,000 and children 4,000.
The estimate also shows that 10,131 (23%) are on treatment with 2,900 new infections occurring annually.
Madam Grigsby reminded the three counties that their contributions are needed in helping the country to create the necessary public awareness and education on the importance of HIV testing and drugs adherence.
“You are very special to the National AIDS Commission and Liberia because of the power and influence you have to convince your peers to do their HIV test and educate people in their communities and schools,” she emphasized.
Making remarks, the participants congratulated the Commission for organizing such a forum which they said was timely.
They assured the Commission of their willingness to engage in more public awareness and education in their various communities and schools as it relates to creating more public awareness and education on HIV Prevention and control.