Debra Matabvu

GOVERNMENT will continue to ensure there is provision of quality treatment to people living with HIV/Aids as well enforcing measures that continue to combat the spread of pandemic, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.

This comes as the rate of annual infections has dropped to 40 000 in 2019 compared to 47 000 recorded in 2016, while HIV-related deaths have dropped to 20 000 in 2019 compared to 54 000 recorded in 2010.

The country has also seen 1,2 million people living with HIV receiving treatment.

In pre-recorded speech televised at the World Aids Day commemorations at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) Tuesday, Vice President Chiwenga who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care said Government would continue to introduce interventions aimed at   controlling the pandemic, reducing infection and death rate.

“It is pleasing to note that despite the Coivid-19 related setbacks, HIV interventions are regaining impetus and continue to impact people’s lives,” he said.

“Zimbabwe has over the years continued the trend of reducing new infections which now stands at 40 000 compared to 47 000 in 2016.

“To ensure that this trend continues, the country shall prioritise interventions targeting sub populations with higher incidents and prevalence such as sex workers, prison inmates, adolescent   girls and boys, young women and other key populations such as artisanal miners and mobile transporters who occupational dynamics increase their risk to HIV.

“Focus will also be intensified to the reduction of Mother-to-Child-Transmission and public provision of prevention devices such as condoms following shortages during the Covid-19 disruptions.

“Zimbabwe has also made commendable progress in initiating HIV-positive people on treatment which is important in reducing deaths and HIV-related outcomes.

“Due to a wider antiretroviral treatment, Zimbabwe now has nearly 1,2 million people on ARV which has resulted in annual HIV deaths related declining to 20 000 in 2019 and 54 000 in 2010.

“Our efforts are now geared towards epidemic control and in this regard, we are now focusing on the death rate on HIV people should be lower or equal to the death rate of the general population.”

Zimbabwe has about 1,3 million people living with HIV.