‘Aids-related deaths decline’
VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said HIV and Aids related deaths have declined by 77 percent in the country in the last decade, as the country moves towards ending AIDS by 2030.
Speaking during the World Aids Day commemorations in Kwekwe yesterday where he launched the new National HIV Consolidated Guidelines, the VP said the country was steadily recording a decrease in new infections in 15 to 49 year age group.
He said five per 1 000 Aids related deaths were recorded in 2016 against 50 per 1 000 which was recorded at the height of the pandemic in 1994.
The VP said according to the Zimbabwe Populationbased HIV Impact Assessment (Zimphia) and Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS), Zimbabwe was making great strides in the fight against HIV and Aids. “The new information from the survey will give the country information on new HIV infections, total number of people in need of treatment and current levels of viral load.
“The incidence of new infections amongst the 15-49 yearolds has been reduced from 0.88 percent to 0.48 percent. This means that the number of new infections has reduced from almost nine to five in every 1000 adults per year,” he said.
Cde Mnangagwa said HIV prevalence in 15-49 year-olds is now 14 percent from 14,8 percent. “This means 14 in every 1 000 adults (15-49) are currently HIV infected.
“Prevalence in children 0-14years is now 1.6percent meaning that 16 in every 1 000 children are currently HIV infected. In terms of active syphilis, prevalence is 0.8percent meaning 8 in every 1 000 adults have active syphilis prevalence in the 15-64 year age group,” said the Vice President.
The commemorations were running under the theme, “Closing the tap of new HIV infections”.
“I am informed that currently in Zimbabwe, mother to child transmission of HIV is occurring in seven in every 100 pregnant women and lactating women and we are aiming at reducing this further to less than five in every 100 women to achieve virtual elimination.
“I’m pleased to note that Zimbabwe launched the Start Free, Stay Free and Aids Free framework which will complement elimination of mother to child transmission strategies and entire HIV prevention programme,” said the Vice President.
He said the people living with HIV should not be neglected adding that 930 000 people are now receiving treatment representing 66 percent progress towards the fast track target where 90 percent of all HIV positive people should be on treatment by 2020.
“While this is commendable, let me reiterate the need for expansion of HIV testing services to ensure that the remaining 470 000 people are tested and placed on treatment. The Government remains committed to achieving the 90:90:90 treatment targets and ending Aids by 2030. The 90:90:90 targets speak to 90 percent of people living with HIV knowing their status, 90 percent of people who know their status are on treatment, 90 percent on ART have sustainable viral suppression,” he said.
Cde Mnangagwa said the new national consolidated HIV guidelines in line with World Health Organisation guidelines have seen the removal of eligibility criteria for commencing ART meaning that once confirmed to be HIV positive, HIV infected people no longer need to wait to be eligible for treatment.
Addressing the same gathering, the acting Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Douglas Mombeshora said Government has issued out over 50 000 HIV self-testing kits since August following an overwhelming response and demand during the pilot project as Government adopts the treat all approach in line with the 90-90-90 targets.
Dr Mombeshora said Government was in the process of establishing a national health insurance scheme that would buttress the level of resources for the response to HIV and AIDS and related infections. @pchitumba1
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