In Zimbabwe Mashonaland East, over 188 254 people are living with HIV, of the 188 254 recorded, 6 873 are children who were born with the HIV.
Taking note of the rapid spreading numbers, Goromonzi District Aids Coordinator Mr Graham Mafoko confirmed that all the infected people have been initiated on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) as of June this year.
During a National AIDS Council (NAC) stakeholders’ meeting that was held to update on activities carried out during the second quarter of the year, Mr Graham Mafoko presented the provincial position on treatment, care and support. In his words, the coordinator said:
“The call for universal access to treatment is bearing fruits as those tested and found positive were initiated on ART. By the end of the second quarter of this year, 137 554 people were initiated in Mashonaland East province. Different services, which are being offered in the districts, are contributing very much to the initiation of patients on ART.
The coordinator continued to say: “Awareness on ART has increased to the extent that adherence is high among people living with HIV, but some of the activities were adversely affected by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown. We also had some people failing to access drugs owing to the travel restrictions, as well as high transport costs.”
The aim of the ART programme is to reduce HIV- related morbidity and mortality, reduce the transmission of HIV from infected to uninfected individuals through expanded ART coverage and early initiation. The ART will also improve the chances of survival and quality of life for persons living with HIV and AIDS.
The ART programme together with many other programmes like Home Based Care (HBC), HIV and TB collaboration and the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programme are all being coordinated by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.