OVER 200,000 people out of 1.72 million living with HIV in the country do not use ARVs treatment, Manager for National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) Dr Anath Rwebembera has said.
She made the revelation during the AIDS exhibition Day organised in Lindi Region ahead of World AIDS Day to be commemorated this Thursday.
She said such people were at risk of getting serious illnesses as well as causing viral HIV transmission to other people.
"If each and every person with HIV uses medication, he or she helps in preventing transmission of HIV to others as she/he stays healthy," she said.
Studies show that a person living with HIV has a similar life expectancy to an HIV-negative person provided he or she is diagnosed early and has good access to medical care, adhering to the HIV treatment.
Dr Rwebembera called for people, mostly youths, who are unaware of their status to go for HIV tests to help improve the health of living with HIV and reduce new HIV infections.
She said the government through NACP has been taking various steps to increase HIV testing among people towards providing treatment and preventing new infection.
She mentioned one of such steps as the introduction of the HIV self-test (JIPIME) kit, which reveals test results within 20 minutes.
According to Dr Rwebembera, the HIV Self-test (JIPIME) is an antibody test that can be used at home or in a private location to get results on HIV.
She said the JIPIME tests are provided and distributed free through government hospital, public health care centres.
JIPIME tests are also issued by the government to special groups in need such as youth among others.
Dr Rwebembera insisted the need for those who are unable to seek HIV testing in public centres to use the HIV self-test to know their status.
The self-testing helps one in establishing referral and linkage to prevention care and treatment alongside other support services.