The HIV story should remain topical and the media has a role to have it remain visible, this was said by the Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Honourable Supa Mandiwanzira at an editor's briefing on the current HIV national response by the National Aids Council in conjuction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care in Chinhoyi recently.
The meeting which drew over 35 editors nationally from the print and broadcast was held over two days and was officially opened by Hon Mandiwanzira who called on all media houses to have HIV on the national agenda.
Deputy Minister Mandiwanzira thanked NAC for the awareness and rekindling of the pandemic as the burden is not yet over although it is now a manageable condition.
"We as the parent ministry remain grateful to NAC that you reawaken the story on HIV and AIDS. It remains topical and editors are important as they decide if they give the story space and prominance, so this sensitisation brings the people who run the news on a high par of understanding," said Hon Mandiwanzira.
Hon Mandiwanzira said he learnt with shock the high number of condoms taken up in the first quarter of 2014 and said he hoped this would see a decline in new HIV infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
"Per capita use of condoms is high, rather shocking because 28 million males condoms to have been taken up in just the first quarter of this year is unbelievable. I hope the condoms were used otherwise it would be of no use to have such a high uptake," he added.
Hon Mandiwanzira said despite the challenges facing the nation we should not forget to celebrate the positive activity taking place in Zimbabwe that we need to have a positive outlook.
"Zimbabwe is on the right path despite some challenges. We should not be over burdened by economic challenges that we forget to celebrate achievements by successful organisations like the National Aids Council. This should not dampen the NAC spirit of hard work and dedication," he said.
Hon Mandiwanzira said the country being a high recipient of the Global Fund shows that as a country we are doing well.
"Being a high recipient of GF shows we as a country are doing well. It's an indication that we are on the right course. The media must play a role to put this on the agenda," he said.
The country received US$48 891 609 for TB, US$46 million for malaria and US461 606 217 for use for the next two years from the Global Fund. Of this amount the country must provide 5 percent of the pledged figure. For TB this translates to US$2 444 580 for malaria US$2 314 815 and for HIV US$23 080 31.
THE National Aids Trust Fund, (NATF) meets the malaria and HIV country funding through the Aids Levy which last year stood at US$32 million.
This means Zimbabwe is not a risk country as TB and HIV are fully covered. The country only has major demands in malaria where there is no country funding.
Zimbabwe was ranked the second best performing grant after Pakistan.
Hon Mandiwanzira decried media houses that turned to sensationalise stories at the expense of real issues.
"Media must be factual, there is no basis for sensationalisation of HIV. When reporting on work of government and the NAC lets be sure that the facts are correct. We can undermine the confidence we have built if we report without verification. Verify always because our detractors may need to derail our success achieved so far," he added.
Hon Maniwanzira said the HIV story remains relevant and must be prioritised as it is a social issue that has a politcal, business economic bearing on the nation.
Present at the meeting was The director of AIDS and TB in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Owen Mugurungi, the PMTCT Director Dr Angela Mushavi partners from the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation and SAfAIDS.