8 February 2017

Zimbabwe: HIV Targets Within Reach - Nac

Paidamoyo Chipunza — Zimbabwe is on course to meeting the HIV and Aids United Nations global targets aimed at increasing the number of HIV positive people who know their status, those on treatment and those with an undetectable level of HIV by 2020. Addressing journalists at a Zimbabwe Lawyers' for Human Rights meeting held in Harare recently, National Aids Council monitoring and evaluation director Mr Amon Mpofu said some provinces have actually surpassed some of the targets popularly known as the 90-90-90.

The 90-90-90 targets are aimed at increasing the number of HIV positive people who know their status by 90 percent, have at least 90 percent of those who know their status on treatment and have 90 percent of those on treatment's viral load reduced to undetectable levels by the year 2020.

Mr Mpofu said of the 1,2 million Zimbabweans estimated to be living with HIV, 74,2 percent now know their status from which 86,8 percent were on antiretroviral treatment. He said of those on treatment, 86,5 percent had undetectable levels of HIV.

"We aim to bring the HIV epidemic under control so that it no longer represents a public health threat to any population or country," said Mr Mpofu. He said to date, about 92 percent of all people on ARVs in Bulawayo, 90 percent in Masvingo and Matabeleland North provinces now have undetectable levels of HIV.

Mr Mpofu said about 91 percent of those who know their status from Midlands and 92 percent from Matabeleland South provinces were on treatment. "Progress towards the 90-90-90 goals in Zimbabwe demonstrates that the national HIV programme has made great strides in responding to its HIV epidemic," said Mr Mpofu.

He said the recently concluded Zimbabwe Population-based Impact Assessment (Zimphia) bore testimony to an effective fight against the epidemic.

"The goal of ending the Aids epidemic in Zimbabwe by 2030 is within reach, provided there is continued expansion of HIV treatment programmes and targeted HIV testing, especially for men and young women," said Mr Mpofu.

According to Zimphia, HIV prevalence among the 20-24 age-group was three times higher among females compared to males in the same age-group. The Ministry of Health and Child Care is on record calling for prioritisation and scaling up of HIV services to sex workers, youths, prisoners, cross border truck drivers and young people-deemed most at risk populations.

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