06/18/2019, 12.42
SRI LANKA
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HIV virus spread under control

by Melani Manel Perera

Some 3,200 people are HIV-positive in the country and 100 are infected with syphilis and gonorrhea. Pregnant women have free access to prenatal tests. Since 2011, pregnant women who have received treatment for the virus have given birth to healthy children.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – The spread of the HIV virus in Sri Lanka has been "controlled", the local Health Promotion Bureau has reported.

The number of people who are HIV-positive stood at around 3,200 at the end of 2018, whilst another 100 received treatment for syphilis and gonorrhea.

“The spread of the three diseases in Sri Lanka is about .02% year and this is one of the lowest in the region,” said Dr Lilani Rajapaksa.

In light of this, “Sri Lanka is planning to obtain a validation certificate by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a country which has ‘eliminated mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis,” she added.

Dr Rajapaksa, national coordinator of the ‘Project to Prevent Transmission of HIV and Syphilis from Mother to Child’, spoke at a seminar held in Colombo last Friday.

Dr P Weerasinghe, a specialist in sexually transmitted diseases, spoke at the same venue, saying that the Health Ministry needed support from all healthcare personnel, the community and the media to meet the goal of creating a sexual disease-free Sri Lanka

Free HIV and syphilis screening tests are offered in complete privacy and confidentiality to all pregnant mothers, he explained, adding that since 2011, all HIV-positive pregnant women who received services from sexually-transmitted disease (STD) clinics have delivered HIV uninfected babies.

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