The government today said at least one person was being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Sri Lanka each day.
Addressing a UN programme by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said there were more than 3000 people suspected of being HIV/AIDS positive in Sri Lanka of which only 1250 had been identified.
The UN development programme Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria provides financial support to low and middle income countries to fight the three diseases.
“There is a relatively low prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the country.
However statistics show that if we do not take effective measures to control it now, we may have to face enormous consequences in the future,” the Minister said adding that 61% of those who are HIV/AIDS positive were in the Western Province.
National STD/AIDS control programme Director, Dr. Nimal Edirisinghe said those among the riskiest were female sex workers, men engaging in contact with men, drug users, beach boys and prisoners.
“There are 40,000 sex workers, 35,000 same gender contact among men, 40,000 heroin users of whom more than 1% inject drugs in the country. If we educate these people and provide HIV treatment for those who need it we can control the disease and ensure that it does not spread any further,” Dr. Edirisinghe said.
GFATM Health Ministry Project Director, Dr. Rabindra Abeysinghe said through the programme Sri Lanka would receive US $12.5 million dollars for the next five years for the screening of infection, HIV/AIDS treatment, counseling and educating the public. (Olindhi Jayasundere)