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Minister speaks on the fight against Aids and HIV

This year 15 people were diagnosed with HIV or Aids.

The number is down from last year when 22 people were diagnosed with the illnesses.

During World Aids Day yesterday Health Minister Zane DeSilva said the Government was committed to fighting the disease, which currently has no cure.

Mr DeSilva said: “This year's theme was ‘Universal Access and Human Rights' which was chosen because universal access to HIV/Aids prevention, treatment and care are fundamental human rights and the protection of human rights is pivotal in combating the global HIV/Aids epidemic.

“Through the promotion of individual human rights in this manner, new infections can be prevented and people living with HIV/Aids can live free from stigma and discrimination.”

World Aids Day began 22 years ago and aims to increase awareness about HIV/Aids in order to combat prejudice and lack of knowledge about the disease.

According to the UN there are approximately 33.4 million people living with HIV, which includes 2.1 million children.

In Bermuda, the number of people who have been diagnosed with HIV is approximately 177.

So far, in 2010, there have been 11 new HIV diagnoses, five new AIDS diagnoses and four Aids-related deaths. Aids is the syndrome which appears in advanced stages of HIV infection.

According to the Ministry of Health in Bermuda HIV is primarily transmitted through sexual contact and therefore HIV affects all age groups from young adults to seniors.

Mr DeSilva said: “Bermuda recognises the efforts made locally to take action and ensure that human rights are protected, to promote a better understanding of HIV/Aids and to increase access to testing, care and treatment.

“As the slogan for ‘World Aids Day' continues to be ‘Stop Aids, Keep the promise' I do hereby renew this Government's commitment to keeping the promise and I urge everyone to continue to make every effort to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in our community.”

Photo by Tamell Simons Still I rise; Celeste Deshields who was drugged and raped 17 years ago and was dignoise with HIV the following year stands in front of the quilt she made to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to also support the loves one left behind during World Aids Day held Dec 1st at City Hall.

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Published December 02, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 10, 2010 at 3:40 am)

Minister speaks on the fight against Aids and HIV

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