Huge stride in curbing HIV infections

Source: Huge stride in curbing HIV infections | The Herald

Huge stride in curbing HIV infections
Dr Bernard Madzima

Precious Manomano Herald Reporter

The country has made great strides in scaling up prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV with 93 percent of pregnant women accessing services to stop infection of babies before and during birth.

National Aids Council (NAC) chief executive officer Dr Bernard Madzima said the country has made commendable progress in reversing the course of the HIV pandemic through prevention of new HIV infections and the provision of treatment to those infected.

“Mother to child transmission is still above five percent and we still want the mothers to be booked early for antenatal care so that they are tested for HIV and are given treatment.

“The aim is to have less than five percent of mother to child transmission of HIV and at the moment we are around seven percent,” he said.

Dr Madzima urged pregnant women to book early for antenatal care and to access services that would help them to have healthier lives.

The World Health Organisation recommends that over the course of pregnancy, all pregnant women should have at least four assessments, with at least one at 8–12 weeks, 24–26 weeks, 32 weeks and 36–38 weeks.

The Ministry of Health has also launched a national validation committee to manage and monitor the spread of HIV to unborn babies.

Zimbabwe is experiencing a significant decline in new HIV and AIDS infections but commitment among citizens is required for a further reduction in new cases.

Of the 1,3 million HIV positive people in Zimbabwe, 97 percent are now on antiretroviral therapy.

Latest statistics from the UNAIDS’ annual report show that Zimbabwe is one of the seven countries in east and southern African that have managed to achieve the global HIV and Aids fast track targets of reducing transmission.

The fast track targets, popularly known as the 90-90-90 targets, saw countries committing to ensure that 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status, 90 percent who are HIV positive are on anti-retroviral treatment and 90 percent on treatment are achieving viral suppression.

The other six countries that have achieved the targets are Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.