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Zimbabwe achieves milestone in HIV/AIDS Fight, recognized among top performers in Africa

by Staff Reporter
10 Dec 2023 at 09:49hrs | Views
Zimbabwe has emerged as one of the leading nations in Africa making significant progress in the battle against HIV/AIDS, surpassing the 95-95-95 targets set by UNAIDS well ahead of schedule. The commendable achievement places Zimbabwe among the top five African countries, alongside Tanzania, Rwanda, Eswatini, and Botswana, to hit the midterm goals set for 2025.

UNAIDS Executive Director, Ms. Winnie Byanyima, who visited Zimbabwe for World AIDS Day and the International Conference of AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), praised the country's efforts in combating the epidemic. Ms. Byanyima emphasized that Zimbabwe had effectively met the 95% targets - where 95% of the population knows their HIV status, 95% are on treatment, and 95% are virally suppressed.

"Zimbabwe is 'killing it' in HIV/AIDS. This is one problem where Zimbabwe has a lot to teach the rest of the world," Ms. Byanyima said during her visit. She highlighted the country's success in closing inequalities driving HIV through policies, laws, and programming grounded in scientific evidence.

Ms. Byanyima acknowledged that key populations, such as sex workers, play a crucial role in HIV transmission and commended Zimbabwe for removing barriers they faced in accessing health services. The country's efforts in non-discrimination and raising the age of consent were noted as positive steps in managing HIV effectively.

While celebrating progress, Ms. Byanyima emphasized the need to address social norms, gender-based violence, and sexual violence to protect girls. She pointed out that, despite a decrease in overall HIV infections, the infection rates among girls and young women remained a concern, and keeping them in school was identified as a crucial factor.

The UNAIDS Executive Director urged countries to prioritize sex education in schools, emphasizing that informed education would help counter misinformation and contribute to reducing infections. She underlined the World AIDS Day theme for the year, "Let communities lead," stressing that communities play a pivotal role in identifying those in need of treatment, testing, and prevention measures.

Zimbabwe's success in reaching and surpassing UNAIDS targets showcases the nation's commitment to ending AIDS as a public health threat and serves as a model for other countries striving to achieve similar goals.

Source - Sunday News