Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who also doubles as the Health Minister, has said despite the Covid-19 induced disruptions to HIV/AIDS service delivery in 2020, the government's response to HIV was pleasing as new infections decrease.
In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy John Mangwiro, Chiwenga said the recent emergence of Covid-19 had exposed the country's health systems.
However, said he was happy his government was prioritising to revamp the whole health delivery system, and be able to with pandemics.
"I am very pleased with the trajectory of new HIV infections, which shows a continued decline for all age groups over the years, from 40 900 to 24 900 between 2016 and 2020," Chiwenga told guests at the Chinhoyi University of Technology where World Aids Day commemorations were held Wednesday.
"Among adults, the number of new infections has declined by 42.1% whilst in children it declined by 22.4% between the same period" he said.
"Among the 10-19-year age group, infections declined by 44.3% and by 44.4% among the 15-24-year age group. In addition to these declines, the national HIV prevalence has dropped from 13.9% to 11.8%."
Chiwenga added: "This shows that the HIV prevention interventions we have rolled out, both biomedical and social, are bearing fruit and should be scaled up, with a focus on high impact ones, such as targeted HIV testing, voluntary medical male circumcision, pre-exposure prophylaxis, post exposure prophylaxis, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, treatment as prevention and others, utilising the differentiated service delivery approaches."
He said the government still needed to optimise interventions targeting sex workers, adolescent girls and young women and other key populations which account for more new HIV infections.
"We now have to revolutionise our response and address any structural delivery challenges that might hinder specific population sub groups from accessing and utilising HIV prevention services," he said,
"In line with our theme, which calls for ending of inequalities, I would like to inform you that my ministry is guided by the public health approach and shuns all forms of discrimination in service delivery."
"The progress we have recorded in HIV prevention has been complemented by our unrelenting efforts to scale up access to treatment. Ladies and gentlemen, I am very glad to inform you that of the 1.3 million HIV positive people in Zimbabwe, 91% are now on antiretroviral therapy, up from 88% in 2015."