The Sunday Mail
A United Nations agency says it is pleased with the achievements Zimbabwe has registered in reducing new HIV infection, a gain that raises hope in the country attaining the 90-90-90 target by 2020.
The target seeks to have 90 percent of all people living with HIV to know their status, provide sustained antiretroviral therapy to 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV and have viral suppression on 90 percent of all people receiving ART.
It is estimated that 74 percent of people living with HIV between the 15-64 age group in Zimbabwe are aware of their status and 86 percent of these are on treatment.
Of those living with HIV in the same age group, nearly 79 percent of the HIV patients are virally suppressed.
UNAIDS executive director Mr Michel Sidibé said Zimbabwe is among the top countries in Eastern and Southern Africa that have recorded a sharp decline in new HIV infections.
“Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda have reduced new HIV infection by nearly 40 percent or more since 2010,” said Mr Sidibé in a report.
“We will continue to scale up to reach everyone in need and honour our commitment of leaving no one behind.”
The country’s HIV prevalence rate has declined remarkably in recent years, dropping from as high as 36 percent at the turn of the new millennium to current levels of about 14 percent.
According to a UNAIDS 2016 report, Zimbabwe is faring well as compared to other countries such as Swaziland (28 percent), Botswana (22 percent) and South Africa (17 percent). UN Zimbabwe Resident Co-ordinator Mr Bishow Parajuli said various HIV interventions have seen the country register impressive results.
“UN provided and sustained ART to nearly one million people living with HIV, enabling them to lead healthy and productive lives,” said Mr Parajuli.
“Our prevention efforts through male circumcision, awareness raising and voluntary counselling and testing have stopped the epidemic in its tracks. The trends are reversing downwards.”