Tanzania Makes Giant Strides in HIV/Aids Response - Report

Tanzania has made considerable progress in the HIV/Aids response towards attaining the UNaids 90-90-90 treatment goals with 83 per cent of Tanzanians living with HIV having known their status in 2019, says a new report.

The UNaids 2020 Global Aids update report titled 'Seizing The Moment', which was released on Monday shows that 90 per cent of the infected persons were on life saving antiretroviral treatment, and of those on treatment, 92 per cent had suppressed viral loads, meaning they cannot pass on the virus.

Aids-related deaths too have dropped by 47 per cent since 2010 (from an estimated 52 000 deaths in 2010 to an estimated 27 000 deaths in 2019).

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However, according to the report new infections have only dropped by 19 per cent in the same time period. In 2019 there were a total of 77 000 Tanzanians who were newly infected with HIV.

More than one in five of these new infections were among adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24. That is over 40 girls and young women becoming infected with HIV in Tanzania every single day.

Commenting on the report, Tanzania Commission for Aids (Tacaids) director Dr Leonard Maboko said this was mainly due to effort to sensitize Tanzanian citizens to test so that they know their status.

According to him by 2016-2017 only 61 per cent of those infected with the HIV virus in Tanzania knew their status especially men who rarely go for tests.

"We decided to direct our efforts in this direction where we involved the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa in the Campaign to sensitize people to go for tests to know their status and we must say that he was a good ambassador because he was in the frontline throughout the campaign," said Dr Leonard Maboko

Dr Maboko said the campaign was divided into several segments with one particularly targeting the youth.

"We used several platforms including music festivals such as 'Wasafi' and 'Fiesta' because we wanted to reach the youth wherever they are," he said.

He, however, said there was still work to be done to reach the 90 per cent in all the three areas in 2020.

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