World AIDS Day 2018/2019 theme launched
ZIMBABWE recently launched the World AIDS Day 2018/9 theme in Harare. The theme: “Know Your Status” is a befitting wake up call to every Zimbabwean to prioritise not just HIV testing but also other sexually transmitted infections, TB, Diabetes, Cancer and other non-communicable diseases.
Zimbabwe has done well to change the trajectory of HIV and AIDS over the years, largely through the decentralised approach and provision of antiretroviral therapy. From as few people as 5000 in 2004 and with a negative economic landscape, Zimbabwe now has nearly 1,2 million on ART. HIV incidence and prevalence have also dropped significantly, from over 1% in 2005 to 0.44% in 2016 and from over 20% in 2005 to 14.7% in 2016 respectively.
In a speech read on his behalf by NAC Board Chair, Dr Evaristo Marowa, Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo said that while we have a lot to celebrate about, Zimbabwe still has a long road to travel to get people to be fully empowered against HIV and AIDS.
“The starting point for that empowerment is knowing one’s status - it is the single most important intervention that allows people to live and plan their lives,” he said.
Minister Moyo went on to say that, “without taking an HIV test, one cannot access services for voluntary medical male circumcision, prevention of mother to child transmission and ultimately antiretroviral therapy.”
Zimbabwe aims to achieve the 90-90-90-90 global targets and eventually end AIDS in 2030. This can only be achieved if, and only if people get to know their status. While the Ministry of Health and Child Care, National AIDS Council and their strategic partners are promoting HIV testing among the entire population, there are specific population sub groups that are being prioritised and these are sex workers, prisoners, youths, adolescent girls and young women as well as mobile workers who have greater chances of exposure to risk and therefore provide a higher yield of HIV positive people.
Minister Moyo hailed the organising committee for integrating knowing ones’ status for sexually transmitted infections, TB and common cancers into the global theme. “And I want to recognise the efforts by NAC to integrate provision of these services particularly their musical galas and combination HIV prevention strategy campaigns,” he added.
The launch of the theme is a precursor to the national commemorations of the World AIDS Day which will be held on Saturday 1 December 2018 at Rujeko Secondary School in Glendale, Mazowe district of Mashonaland Central.
The Candlelight Memorial as well as HIV prevention awareness campaigns are some of the activities that will be held ahead of the World AIDS Day 2018.
Globally, World AIDS Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died due to AIDS.