Although there is no cure for HIV infection, treatment with anti-retroviral drugs can control the virus allowing people living with HIV (PLHIV) to lead healthy and productive lives.
HIV is a virus which weakens the immune system and can lead to serious infections and some forms of cancer. Globally almost 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. It is vitally important to diagnose HIV infection as early as possible so that treatment can be started promptly before the body’s immunity becomes seriously weakened and the virus can spread to other people. Treatment is important for the individual and also important for the community. A major challenge is the fact that only half of patients in Timor-Leste are aware of their status.
The joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS has set a 90:90:90 target by 2020: 90% of infected people diagnosed (barely 50% at present); 90% of diagnosed individuals on antiviral treatment; and 90% of treated patients virally “undetectable” on treatment.
HIV in Timor-Leste: The ingredients of an epidemic
Timor-Leste is considered to have a low-level non-generalised HIV epidemic, with a national prevalence of well below 1%, although some studies have shown higher rates in certain districts and patient groups.
Our challenge is to stop HIV before it becomes overwhelming for individuals, families, communities and healthcare facilities.
First case of HIV detected in Timor-Leste
people living with HIV infection in Timor-Leste
The number of newly diagnosed patients has been rising each year. This is likely to reflect both a rise in testing rates and a true increase in incidence. According to the Ministry of Health, it is likely that HIV prevalence is significantly under-reported.
Timor-Leste is vulnerable to a rapidly increasing incidence of HIV due to:
• high levels of population movement and socio-economic displacement
• low incidence of condom use
• low level of awareness of STIs and HIV
• poor access to HIV and STI screening
• presence of risk behaviours within vulnerable groups
“Two of the greatest health challenges in Timor-Leste are HIV and TB infection. The management and control of HIV is vital in controlling the current TB epidemic. HIV infection makes people 10 times more likely to develop TB disease and more likely to develop multi-drug resistant tuberculosis
Controlling the HIV epidemic is a top priority for Maluk Timor.”Dr Clare Nourse
HIV Management by Maluk Timor
Maluk Timor has been given the task of establishing an HIV diagnostic and treatment service through its association with Vera Cruz Clinic.
Our team will expand access to HIV tests in the most vulnerable groups, guarantee treatment availability and educate and support people living with HIV to remain on treatment and lead healthy, safe and productive lives.
Your support will help Maluk Timor in the following ways:
1. Create teams of Timorese HIV professionals
Create teams of Timorese healthcare professionals specifically trained in HIV management.
The diagnosis, counselling, support and medical managment of HIV patients is quite complex and needs to be learned on site with a professional team.
The aim is to create Timorese professional units to be established in different geographical areas.
2.Establish an operational HIV care facility
Establish an operational HIV care facility, equipped with point-of-care testing, consultation rooms, and an effective treatment dispensing service.
It is imperative to have highly skilled staff to do this.
Maluk Timor has this experience and capabilities gained over 6 years of caring for 80% of Timor-Leste’s HIV patients.
3. Form a coordinated outreach service
Our coordinated outreach service supports affected people in the community, promotes preventative behaviour, and encourages at-risk people to come forward to be tested.
This includes screening of all pregnant women for HIV infection. Treatment of HIV infection in pregnancy and labour prevents HIV infection in newborn babies.
Maluk is part of a fantastic team tackling HIV in Timor-Leste
Maluk Timor works closely with the WHO, the Global Fund, the Timor-Leste Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Commission, and community-based organisations such as Estrella+, Caritas, Esperanca and