Zimbabwe: Zim Sets 2025 HIV Target

2 November 2020

Senior Reporter

Zimbabwe has set a target of having 95 percent of people who test HIV positive be on anti-retroviral treatment by 2025.

The new target follows strides made by the country in having approximately 90 percent of HIV positive people on ARV therapy.

This was said by National Aids Council chief executive officer, Dr Bernard Madzima, in an interview yesterday.

"Zimbabwe is on track to achieve the 90-90-90 global targets," he said.

"This means having 90 percent of people tested. Of those 90 percent tested and are positive, they are put on treatment and of those who are on treatment, 90 percent are virally suppressed.

"We are actually aiming for 95-95-95 by 2025."

Dr Madzima said NAC had created structures at national, provincial, district and ward levels to raise HIV and Aids awareness and ensure that gains made in controlling the infection were not reversed.

"So, as the pandemic evolved and the numbers were decreasing from as high as 21 percent HIV prevalence in 2005 to as low as 13 percent in 2015, the interventions changed," Dr Madzima said.

"NAC started coordinating what we call implementing models which were targeting high risk groups through mentor-ships programmes.

Going forward, NAC wants to revive those community coordination structures, including community focal persons at ward level and also the committees, so in 2021 NAC will be supporting those committees with specific mandates to support the Government response to HIV and Covid-19.

"In as much as we are targeting certain groups, we still have to be alert to new infections."

Dr Madzima said they wanted to increase their engagements with organisations of people living with HIV.

He said although Covid-19 pandemic affected some of their programmes, they put in place mechanisms to ensure continued access to medication for HIV patients.

"Since the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, HIV and AIDS programmes like any other programmes also suffered because most of our programmes in communities require us to gather people around sharing information and those who are positive need to visit health centres to access their medications," said Dr Madzima.

"All that suffered, but we came up with innovative ways to make sure clients continuously get their medication.

"We increased the supply of drugs and asked hospitals to give our clients three months' supply. In some cases, we used community anti-retroviral treatment refill groups where a health worker would collect drugs on behalf of a group in his/her community."

Dr Madzima said they had also started preparations for World AIDS Day commemorations designated for December 1.

An estimated 1,3 million people are living with HIV in Zimbabwe and slightly over a million of them are on treatment.

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