ZIMBABWE has made great strides in the fight against HIV/Aids as evidenced by its prevalence rate which has dropped from more than 15 percent to 11,9 percent. The prevalence rate in some districts such as Binga has dropped to as low as 5,3 percent.
The Aids mortality rate dropped by almost 72 percent and more than one million people out of 1,4 million infected are on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). Credit for this success story goes to the country’s many intervention programmes.
Zimbabwe is among the first countries on the continent to introduce an Aids levy specifically to fund programmes to fight the pandemic.
The levy has enabled Government to fund many intervention programmes as well as provide Anti-retroviral drugs to thousands of people already infected.
The challenge of mother-to-child transmission of the virus has been greatly reduced as pregnant women are tested and those found to be HIV-positive are then put on treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT).
The few children born positive are quickly put on treatment and this has gone a long way in reducing child mortality rate. Non-governmental organisations are complementing Government efforts to fight against HIV/Aids by running different programmes to prevent the spread of the virus.
These organisations have also put thousands of people already infected by the virus on ART.
Some of the organisations are not just providing drugs but are also empowering people living with HIV/Aids through funding their income generating projects such as market gardening, poultry, sewing, carpentry and many other such projects. Those that are already sick are being assisted through home-based care programmes.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has, however, disrupted some of the intervention programmes but what is encouraging is that despite the disruptions, the country continues to do well in the fight against HIV/Aids.
According to the Zimbabwe National Aids Council (Nac) chief executive officer Dr Bernard Madzima, Zimbabwe has succeeded in bending the trajectory of the Aids pandemic. He said the target now is to end Aids as public health threat by 2030.
We have said it before that these many positives that the country has recorded over the years should be supported by behaviour change and attitudes.
It is a fact that in most cases the virus is transmitted through sex so those who are promiscuous are at high risk of contracting the virus. It is therefore, important for those that have multiple sex partners to ensure they engage in safe sex by using condoms.
Zimbabwe has made great strides in the fight against the Aids scourge but the country is lagging behind in the area of voluntary testing and counselling.
Thousands of Zimbabweans are still reluctant to go for voluntary testing and counselling which is critical in the fight against the pandemic.