The national campaign to screen the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-AIDS) was launched today in Rabat, as part of the celebration of World AIDS Day 2018.
The screening campaign, which coincides with UNAIDS ‘s choice of Morocco to celebrate the MENA Regional Day, provides an opportunity to highlight the experience and good practices of the HIV response and launch new initiatives, including the 2018-2021 human rights and HIV strategy and the “cities without AIDS” approach, according to the Ministry of Health.
This campaign is aimed primarily at pregnant women to prevent cases of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, young people and populations most exposed or vulnerable to the disease.
The number of people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy reached more than 12,100 by the end of June 2018, compared to 5,301 in 2012, with coverage currently estimated at 58 per cent of people living with HIV, compared with 29 per cent in the MENA region.
In a statement, Health Minister Anass Doukkali said that testing centers under the Ministry of Health and mobile testing facilities and units under thematic NGOs are being set up, available to anyone wishing to take the HIV test free of charge.
He also pointed out that access to HIV testing has continued to grow with nearly 750,000 tests completed in 2017, and that 70% of people living with HIV know their HIV status.
HIV testing is of paramount importance to expanding the number of people on treatment. With knowledge of HIV status still a challenge, UNAIDS estimates that 9.4 million people living with HIV do not know their status, including 100,000 in the MENA region.
The launch of this campaign was marked by the presence of national and international partners in the national HIV response, representatives of the Arab League, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Geneva Global Fund Secretariat and Egyptian actress Yousra, UNAIDS goodwill ambassador for the MENA region.