AIDS DEATHS DROP
8 December 2016
THE number of people dying due to AIDS has significantly dropped over the years as the country continues to achieve more in HIV prevention, treatment and care.
Minister of Health and Child Care, David Parirenyatwa said it was pleasing to note that the country was achieving gains in its quest to end AIDS as the number of deaths were significantly dropping.
“As a result of the rapid expansion of treatment services over the years, the number of people dying due to AIDS has dropped from over 3000 per week in 2004 to less than 900 deaths per week in 2015.
“The expansion of treatment is also helping in closing the tap of new infections as people who are stable on treatment have low viral load and therefore less chances of transmitting HIV,” he said.
The drop in HIV deaths comes at a time when a survey has revealed that more than half of the people with HIV who are taking anti-retroviral treatment had their viral load suppressed hence have a lesser chance to transmit the virus.
According to the Zimbabwe Population Based Impact Assessment (Zimphia) results released last Thursday, more than 50 percent of the population on anti-retroviral treatment had their viral load suppressed.
“Viral suppression in females between 15-64 years stood at 64,5 percent while in male it stood at 54, 3 and 58, 3 percent,” read part of the survey results.
In the wake of these findings, Minister Parirenyatwa said HIV prevention remained the country’s number one priority as they seek to close the tap on new HIV infections.
“HIV prevention remains Zimbabwe’s number one priority. In this regard, it is pleasing to note that new infections have dropped from over 82,570 in 2009 to an estimated 42,314 this year.
“This reduction has been on account of the comprehensive combination of high impact HIV prevention interventions, which include HIV testing services, prevention of mother to child infection, condom promotion and distribution, treatment as prevention, behaviour change and voluntary medical male circumcision.”
Acknowledging that the country remained saddled by a heavy burden of HIV and AIDS affecting the socio-economic development, the Health Minister commended the progress the nation has made in reversing the course of HIV.
“I am glad to note that we have made commendable progress as a nation in reversing the course of HIV and AIDS, particularly through prevention of new HIV infections and provision of treatment to those who are infected. Our response has been largely spurred by the pursuit of the 90, 90, 90 by 2020 targets,” added Minister Parirenyatwa.