– MOROCCO –
NATIONAL HIV TESTING DAY, ORGANIZED BY ALCS,
A RECIPIENT ORGANIZATION OF FQSIDA
July 26th, 2013
According to UNAIDS estimates (2011), more than 70,000 people are currently living with HIV on Canadian ground, out of a population of nearly 35 million. To make an international comparison, still using UNAIDS as a source, there are half as many people living with HIV in Morocco; about 30,000 in a country that numbers 33 million people. Does this mean that our friends in Morocco are better informed than Canadians about HIV vectors, and so are better able to protect themselves? Nothing could be less certain.
In reality, one of the main explanations for this significant discrepancy is as simple as it is disturbing: Moroccan estimates are not reliable, since there is far less screening done in Morocco than in Canada due to a lack of financial and human resources. So, while 75% of HIV-positive people in Canada are aware of their HIV status and are therefore able to take their health in hand and break the cycle of new infections by using effective prevention measures, in Morocco, less than 20% of the total estimated number of HIV-positive people have been officially diagnosed. This means that the new cases of HIV infection counted worldwide each year are essentially the toxic fruits of a hidden epidemic.
Driven by this alarming observation, ALCS, a founding member of Coalition PLUS, has organized National HIV Testing Day every year for the past seven years, in close collaboration with the Moroccan ministry of health. The 2013 edition of this large-scale event, launched June 1st in Agadir in partnership with the National Council on the Rights of Man, is being carried out at 83 sites this year, spread over 60 cities and villages across the kingdom. In the end, more than 10,000 tests were done in a single day in ALCS testing centres and those of partner organizations. Testing was overseen by 90 consulting doctors, and supported by 400 volunteers.