Global fund approves HIV/AIDS project

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has approved a project proposed by the Central African Republic (CAR) government on the reinforcement of care to HIV positive people, state-owned Radio Centrafrique on Monday.

At the same time, the Fund allocated money to fight AIDS to the UN Development Programme in the CAR, which in turn recruited seven experts to oversee the formulation of a training document for NGOs involved in anti-HIV/AIDS efforts in the country.

The funding will also be used to build eight centres across the country for HIV screening. Two of these will be built in 2004 in the capital, Bangui, in the suburbs of KM5 and Ouango. The rest will be built in the towns of Bouar, Bambari, Mobaye, Bangassou and Bria.

More centres are due to be built in 2005 in the towns of Nola, Berberati, Mbaiki, Bozoum, Sibut and Kaga-Bandoro.

A team responsible for the CAR HIV/AIDS project has already begun sensitising NGOs in Bouar and Bossangoa, where the NGOS are expected to launch awareness campaigns about the HIV screening centres.

When complete, the centres will have staff comprising a laboratory technician, the head of the centre and an officer in charge of information, education and documentation/counselling.

"The centres will also provide psychological care and anti-retroviral treatment to HIV positive people." Dr Dieudonné Yazipo, one of the project's eight experts, told PlusNews on Monday.

The main objectives of the HIV/AIDS project are to lead the population to voluntary and anonymous AIDS screening and to encourage a change of behaviour towards safe sex in order to curb the country's high HIV rate. Government statistics indicate that up to 15 percent of the CAR population is affected by HIV/AIDS.