World AIDS Day: Mnangagwa urges nation to continue raising awareness

By Xinhua

HARARE: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday urged the nation to continue raising awareness on HIV and AIDS.

In a speech to mark World AIDS Day, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe remains committed to creating an enabling environment for the pursuit of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

“As a nation, let us continue to raise awareness on the existence of the pandemic, and equally seek to utilize HIV prevention and treatment services which are available throughout the country,” he said.

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s HIV and AIDS response has remained robust and focused, despite challenges of COVID-19, climate change and Western sanctions.

This has resulted in the country achieving and surpassing the 95-95-95 targets ahead of the target date, he said.

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS aims for HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression rates to be 95 percent by 2025.

Of all the HIV-positive people in the country, 95 percent now have undetectable HIV-1 RNA regardless of previous diagnosis or antiretroviral therapy status.

Among those who know their status, the percentage has surpassed the required target and is now at 96 percent while those who are positive and are on antiretroviral therapy constitute 97 percent.

Mnangagwa said this year’s theme, EQUALIZE, resonates with the Zimbabwean government’s quest to implement multi-pronged development programs, projects and policy interventions that leave no one and no place behind.

“As a country, we are committed to addressing inequalities related to access, control, and utilization of HIV related services,” he said.

He said the country’s HIV response must tackle factors that drive new infections such as child marriages, violence against women and culture-driven practices that put men, women and children at risk.

“The involvement of men in HIV programs must be scaled up. It is our collective responsibility, right from the family level and across all sectors, to deal with specific HIV infection drivers,” he said.

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