Drop in HIV prevalence encouraging: Health experts
HEALTH experts have hailed the country’s progress in reducing the HIV prevalence rate.
Latest HIV statistics indicate that the prevalence rate has dropped significantly over the years from over 35% in 2010 to 14,2% in 2021.
According to available statistics, more than 1,2 million HIV-positive Zimbabweans have access to life-saving anti-retroviral (ARVs) medication.
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe president Johannes Marisa said the majority of the country’s citizens were now much aware of prevention methods.
“We have achieved a lot as a country on acceptance and a lot of people are aware of HIV prevention strategies, resulting in the decline in the prevalence rate,” said Marisa.
“We are still worried about the young age group which is contributing to a third of all the HIV transmissions occurring at the moment.”
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said a multi-sectoral approach to the HIV fight was proving effective.
He said: “Zimbabwe has successfully battled the HIV and Aids pandemic and registered reduction of both incidents and prevalence.
“This has been through innovativeness and vigorous programming through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, a vibrant multi-sectoral approach coordinated by the National Aids Council.”
Another health expert, Cletos Masiya, however, expressed concern over unrelenting cases of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
“We have the highest rate in terms of mother-to-child transmission of HIV sitting at 88% coverage, which is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa,” Masiya indicated.
Zimbabwe is one of a handful of African countries that reached the UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 targets in 2020.
The targets seek to ensure that 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection receive ARV therapy and 90% of all people receiving ARV should have viral suppression.
Zimbabwe is set to host this year’s International Conference on Aids and STIs.
Source – NewsDay