According to a recent report by UNAIDS, Togo saw a more than 50 percent decrease in the rate of HIV/AIDS infection between 2017 and 2021.
At a recently held review conference in Lomé, the National Council for the Fight against Aids (CNLS) stated that in the past five years, the small West African nation has been effective in implementing different kinds of strategies which have led to the reduction of its HIV infection.
Togo wants to have completely eliminated AIDS as a public health issue by 2030. According to research by Togo First, the HIV prevalence rate, which was 2.2 percent in 2018, has decreased to 1.9 percent in 2021 and is expected to continue to decline in 2022.
According to Vincent Pitché, the National Coordinator of the CNLS, the reduction in new infections and HIV-related mortality is due to a number of steps the government has taken.
In 2021, the Association des Femmes Amazones Zen (AFAZ) established a drop-in center for female sex workers in Togo’s capital, Lomé. The center offers services for HIV prevention and testing, treatment for STDs, care for HIV-positive individuals, and support for victims of gender-based violence. The drop-in centre is funded by the Ending Aids in West Africa project, which is part of the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.
The Parliamentary Network to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria reiterated its commitment to increasing funds to eradicate the three diseases at its annual gathering in Lomé in 2018. Mr. Eli Apedo, president of Platform, stated that "We must use all the instruments in our arsenal to reach students and youth so that they are correctly informed about HIV infection and HIV testing."
The successes in reducing HIV infection rates that Togo has had so far have been the result of behavioral changes. The West African country continues to place more emphasis on risk behavior change strategies.
The goal of behavioral strategies is to delay the onset of first sexual contact, reduce the number of sexual partners, increase the number of sexual acts that are protected, offer HIV counseling and testing, promote adherence to biomedical HIV prevention measures, reduce sharing of needles and syringes, and reduce substance use. Behavioral techniques have been concentrated on individuals, families, institutions, and entire neighborhoods.
With more than 25 million HIV-positive people living in Africa, the region is the most affected worldwide. Nearly two thirds of the world's new HIV infections are from Africa.
More work needs to be done as the disease continues to ravage the continent, but most nations, including Togo, are making progress in its eradication. A generation free of HIV and AIDS is more likely in decades to come.