Côte d’Ivoire’s National AIDS Council has held its seventh session in the capital, Abidjan. The high-level meeting, co-chaired by the Vice-President of Côte d’Ivoire, Daniel Kablan Duncan, and the Prime Minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, was attended by government ministers and representatives of the United Nations, civil society and the private sector, as well as religious and community leaders.
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, was invited to speak at the meeting and reminded participants that the response to HIV urgently needs stepping up in western and central Africa, since the region has not made the progress seen in other parts of the world.
He emphasized the need to revolutionize HIV testing and called for a multisectoral approach and continued work with religious leaders and mayors to break down stigma and discrimination around HIV in the region. He also asked for Côte d’Ivoire to embrace and champion a catch-up plan for western and central Africa to bolster efforts to increase access to HIV prevention, testing and treatment services.
During the meeting, the Minister of Health, Raymonde Goudou Coffie, presented Côte d’Ivoire’s National Strategic Plan 2016–2020 and gave an overview of the state of the epidemic in the country. She talked about the progress made towards the 90–90–90 targets, saying that the estimates showed that currently 70% of people living with HIV in Côte d’Ivoire knew their HIV status, 44% of people who knew their status were accessing antiretroviral treatment and 36% of people accessing treatment had suppressed viral loads. She announced that Côte d’Ivoire is now offering immediate access to treatment to everyone testing positive for HIV, which is expected to boost progress towards achieving the 90–90–90 targets.
She also announced that 80% of pregnant women living with HIV were now accessing treatment in Côte d'Ivoire and gave a special mention to the contribution of the work of the First Lady, Dominique Ouattara, to increasing access to treatment for expectant mothers living with HIV. The First Lady is a UNAIDS Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission and the Promotion of Paediatric Treatment for HIV.
While in Côte d’Ivoire, Mr Sidibé met with the President of Côte d’Ivoire, the First Lady, the Foreign Minister, the Minister of Health, Imam Cissé Djiguiba and the United Nations Country Team.