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GABON: Government launches free AIDS helpline

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


Some 8.1 percent of Gabon's 1.2 million population is HIV positive.

LIBREVILLE, 20 September (PLUSNEWS) - The government of Gabon has set up a free 24-hour telephone information helpline for people seeking information on HIV/AIDS and how to obtain treatment for the disease.

The experimental helpline was launched on 17 September. It is operated by staff based at the headquarters of the National Programme for the Fight against AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (PLNS/IST).

Dr Malonga Moulet, the director-general of PLNS/IST, said; "People seeking medical information about the epidemic or access to treatment or testing or who want to know what to do after a rape can call the helpline free of charge."

The AIDS helpline - which can be called from any landline phone by dialling 1313 - is the second free telephone helpline to be set up in Gabon.

Last April the government set up a similar helpline for child protection. That was aimed at helping victims of child trafficking and the sexual abuse of children.

According to a 2003 Sentinel survey of pregnant women at ante-natal clinics, 8.1 percent of Gabon's 1.2 million population is HIV positive.

Last April, the government slashed the price of AIDS testing and anti-retroviral therapy for people living with AIDS with the help of a US$3 million grant from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

ARV drugs are now distributed free of charge to pregnant women and children under the age of the 12, while other members of the public are required to pay between $4 and $10 per month for anti-retroviral treatment. This can improve the health of people living with AIDS and prolong their life expectancy, but it cannot cure the disease.


Recent GABON Reports
Government cuts condom prices by 40 percent to help AIDS fight,  21/Sep/05
New factory produces AIDS and anti-malarial drugs for the region,  15/Feb/05
Taxis the new weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS,  16/Dec/04
Female condoms are subsidised, but not widely advertised,  21/Oct/04
Number of new HIV infections fell in 2003,  24/Sep/04
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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