December 15, 2010 -- President James Michel has called on all sectors of society to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS together, and to coordinate these efforts as never before, during a National AIDS Council (NAC) meeting this morning.
"Government can put as much resources as possible in the care and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients, but we will never win the fight if there is not a change in mindsets, in attitudes.Â Key to this is education, respect for oneself, for others and society at large, and the cultivation of moral and spiritual values," said President Michel, who is the chairman of the NAC.
"We must be united in this fight to bring about a change in mindsets and attitudes and, ultimately, reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in our country. We are all concerned: governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisations.Â We share the same objectives, the same concerns, because the future of our country and our young people remains foremost in our hearts. "
The President said that people need to take responsibility for their health and well-being. He noted that today there 307 people living with HIV and AIDS in Seychelles, and that 28 new HIV-positive cases and 14 new AIDS cases have been reported from January to November of this year. During the same period, 6 AIDS-related deaths have been recorded.
The Government provides treatment, free of charge to the patients, according to the universal access healthcare policy. Government spendsÂ 10 million rupees a year on HIV/AIDS treatment. The President added that universal access is not only a matter of 'life and death' hut also a question of showing compassion and reaching out to those affected.
"The statistics are a wake-up call and an appeal to each and every individual conscience. We must change our lifestyle and comportment! We must desist from irresponsible behaviour. We must forsake practices and habits that put our own lives and others at risk.Â And of equal, if not greater importance, we must eradicate the scourge of drugs in our midst. It is destroying our society. It fuels crime. It gives rise to HIV/AIDS and other serious communicable diseases," said the President.