Cuba Celebrates World AIDS Day

Havana, Dec 1. -Cuba is celebrating World AIDS day on Thursday along with the rest of the world and this year the focus is on the initiative "Getting to Zero".Zero new infections by HIV, zero discrimination, and zero deaths by AIDS are the goals of the UNAIDS campaign until 2015, in which the Cuban nation is involved, said Manuel Hernandez from the National Center for the Prevention of STD/HIV/AIDS.

Maria Isela Lantero, chief of the National Program of Prevention and Control of the illness, stressed the importance of the campaign, although she recognized it is unlikely to be successful.

She also assured that aspirations to achieve zero transmission, zero deaths and zero discrimination by 2015 are very difficult, but it is important to recognize that this condition can be avoided, and it is possible to achieve a status where the epidemic stops being a major problem.

She added that Cuba is works in its own manner to respond to the issue, and like the rest of the world is trying to reduce the rate of infections by HIV.

Rosaida Ochoa, director of the National Center for the Prevention of STD/HIV/AIDS, said that it is the first time that UNAIDS talked about those goals, which are in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals.

This time it is a call to join efforts to achieve international goals, Ochoa said.

There are palpable results obtained in recent years in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, which have led to an improvement in the quality of life of infected people, as well as in the marked increase in the survival of patients and in the reduction of associated complications, Ochoa said.

The Cuban Prevention Program developed since the beginning of the epidemic includes research, evaluation, training and education and works with the whole population and especially with HIV-infected people and vulnerable groups.

The Cuban government guarantees an increasing quality of life to the sick people with a health system accessible to everybody, and with state financing assured the retro-viral medication and maintained the attention of those patients, Ochoa said. However, everyone must assume responsibility to avoid the infection. (Prensa Latina)