Rwandan First Lady Says Country's HIV Prevalence Between 4%, 7%
May 24, 2005
Rwandan first lady Jeannette Kagame on Thursday ahead of a meeting of the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS in Lusaka, Zambia, said Rwanda has reduced its HIV prevalence from 13% to between 4% and 7% because of intensive prevention efforts, Zambia's Post/AllAfrica.com reports. Kagame said that although the country's rate has dropped, "we still have to enhance efforts in terms of encouraging our people to change their behavior" (Mvula, Post/AllAfrica.com, 5/20). In addition to Kagame, who serves as OAFLA president, the first ladies of Zambia, Mozambique, Gabon, Ghana, Burundi, Mali and Kenya were scheduled to attend the one-day conference on May 20 to discuss how they could help fight HIV/AIDS, according to Mirriam Nkunika, executive director of the Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative, which is headed by Zambian first lady Maureen Mwanawasa, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 5/15). OAFLA was formed by the African first ladies in July 2002 in Geneva. Mwanawasa said HIV testing should become a regular part of women's lives just as dental exams, Pap tests and breast self-exams are included in routine health care, according to the Post/AllAfrica.com. Kagame said young women need to be educated about HIV transmission, adding, "We need to empower our girls so that they become self-reliant and depend on themselves to sustain their lives" (Post/AllAfrica.com, 5/20).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.