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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Manicaland achieves the 95-95-95 HIV AIDS targets

Story by Tamuka Charakupa

Manicaland Province has achieved 95-95-95 HIV AIDS national targets as government and development partners continue to intensify campaigns towards ending the killer disease.

Government efforts in fighting HIV and AIDS across the country are bearing positive results with Manicaland Province having already achieved the 95-95-95 targets ahead of the 2030 deadline.

Revealing the progressive statistics at a provincial function held in Chipinge this Friday, the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National AIDS Council underscored the need to continue with intensified campaigns in pursuit of national targets.

“We commemorate the World AIDS Day this year within an environment of optimism, having achieved the 95-95-95 targets and epidemic control. These achievements have been a result of sustained implementation of high impact HIV prevention interventions. In this regard, my Ministry has scaled up HIV testing coupled with PrEP, PEP, PMTCT, condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision, targeting adolescent girls and young women, sex workers and other key populations and men, based on risk profiling and differentiated care needs. ART coverage is at 99.1% with the total number of 121 939 currently on ART and with this we have managed to reduce overall deaths due to AIDS,” acting Manicaland Provincial Epidemiology and Diseases Control Officer, Dr Cephas Fonte said.

National AIDS Council Provincial Manager, Mr Artwell Shiridzinomwa said, “The province is implementing model-based HIV interventions that are community rooted. In Manicaland we are implementing the Sister to Sister, DREAMS and the peer led models targeting the adolescent girls and young women. Many may feel that the boy child has been left behind as many partners are targeting the adolescent girls and young women. To cover for this gap Manicaland is implementing the Male engagement program and the Brother2Brother models targeting males to take up HIV services as males are deemed to have poor health seeking behaviour.”
While progress has been recorded in HIV prevention, Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Advocate Misheck Mugadza expressed concerns over young women recording the highest number of infections.

He said, “The current HIV estimates for Manicaland has shown that Chipinge has the lowest HIV incidence and prevalence standing at 0.12% and 8.2% respectively whilst Makoni has the highest HIV incidence and prevalence standing at 0.17% and 12.35 % respectively as well. Although this trajectory is pleasing, the province still has to effectively address new infections among women, which are higher than men.

“It is disheartening ladies and gentlemen that the most at-risk population in our province are the adolescent girls and young women aged 10 to 24. The major contributing factor being age mixing or intergenerational sex. The province is also having a challenge of HIV transmission from mother to child which is highly preventable if our women take up the available HIV prevention services. The majority of these infections are as a result of missed opportunities in enrolling pregnant women on the prevention of mother to child transmission.”

Recent statistics point out that the country has approximately 1.2 million people are living with HIV with women recording the highest number of infections

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