By Prince Kurupati
The Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe recently announced that it has achieved and surpassed the global target on HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression. The country surpassed the target three ahead of the set time.
As one of the main measures to combat the spread of the HIV epidemic, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) put in place the 95-95-95 goal. What the goal entails is to test 95 per cent of the population such that they know their HIV status, put 95 per cent of the diagnosed patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and ensure that 95 per cent of the diagnosed patients have viral suppression. UNAIDS earmarked 2025 to be the year that global nations should achieve the 95-95-95 goal.
In her presentation at the Media Engagement Workshop in Chinhoyi, Dr. Chiedza Mupanguri said Zimbabwe has already surpassed UNAIDS’ 95-95-95 goal. “The country has met the viral suppression target in the UNAIDS 95-95-95 target and is one of the highest reported levels of population viral suppression globally,” said Dr. Mupanguri.
Delving into the statistics, Dr. Mupanguri said 95 per cent of all the HIV-positive people in Zimbabwe have undetectable HIV-1 RNA. She went on to state that amongst those who know their status, 96 per cent have undetectable viral loads while 97 per cent of those who are on antiretroviral therapy have viral suppression.
The deputy co-coordinator for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission in the health ministry Precious Andifasi said the PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) is playing a major role in reducing the number of transmissions in the country. She went further stating that this, in turn, helps to save costs as the national strategic plan which runs from 2020 to 2025 has proven that the costs for treatment are much higher than those for prevention.
Official statistics say that about 1.3 million people live positively In Zimbabwe and 1.2 million of those are adults. According to UNAIDS, Zimbabwe’s adult HIV prevalence rate is 11.6 per cent.