570,000 Cameroonians live with HIV virus - NDI Eugene NDI

Nearly three decades after its discovery, HIV infection remains the number one killer disease in Sub-Saharan Africa where up to 67% of the world’s 33 million infected people live. In Cameroon, based on a Demographic Health Survey carried out in 2004, the national HIV prevalence is estimated at 5.5% with women and youths being predominantly infected.

Today 570,000 of the almost 20 million inhabitants live with AIDS in Cameroon with about 33,000 deaths registered annually.Mother- to- child transmission is still on the rise in Cameroon with about 7,300 babies infected at birth each year  that is about 8.9%.

According to statistic from the Ministry of Public Health, the prevalence of HIV hasn’t dropped for the past years in Cameroon as 50,000 new infections were registered in 2010 of which 60% are women.Though government announced free Anti Retroviral Drugs ( ARD) to patients, yet not everyone in Cameroon is eligible for the ARDs. This according to officials of the National AIDS Control Committee is due to the multiplicity of the virus. Many types of HIV exist in the country; HIV 1, HIV 2, and HIV 0. Most Cameroonians National AIDS Control Committee officials say have HIV 1 and 2 which is more resistant to drugs.

The North West, the East, and South West Regions top the chart of HIV infected persons in the country while the North, Far North and South regions are the least infected. As Cameroon joined the world to commemorate the 2011 edition of the World AIDS day, focus was on how to curb mother-to-child transmission in order to get to zero new infections as the theme of the celebration stipulated.

In 1986, the initial response of the Cameroon government to the increasing trends in the HIV/AIDS infection was to create a National AIDS Control Committee to coordinate a national AIDS programme. By 2000, the first National Strategic Plan was drawn for 2000-2005. The second National Strategic Plan for 2006-2010 is currently being implemented and covers various axes. Some results obtained show that there has been significantly positive outcomes noted in the various arms of intervention by the Cameroon government. HIV treatment centres have increased from 12 in 2005 to 125 today government officials say.