Sylvia Masebo, Zambia’s Health Minister, has revealed that 1.3 million Zambians are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Ms. Masebo stated today in Lusaka during an event commemorating HIV testing, counseling, and treatment day that 95.7% of persons living with the virus are aware of their status.
She stated that an estimated 92.4 percent of the population is receiving anti-retroviral treatment.
According to the Minister, 87 percent of individuals on treatment are virally suppressed.
Ms. Masebo stated that the administration is determined to achieve the essential goals in HIV interventions.
“Our goal is to ensure that we achieve all of the set targets especially those in which we are still lagging behind such as viral load suppression for people living with HIV by focusing on treatment initiatives in an effort to reach epidemic control and push towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” she said
She made an earnest appeal to men need to be more involved in the fight against HIV.
Ms. Masebo bemoaned that men are missing in the HIV response.
“Key to all these efforts is finding men and making them part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Available evidence increasingly points to the fact that our men are missing in the response to HIV,” she lamented.
Speaking on the same occasion, PEPFAR Country Coordinator Daphyne Williams disclosed that the United States government has this year spent 401 million US dollars in Zambia’s HIV response.
Ms. Williams said since 2004, PEPFAR has contributed a total amount of 4 billion United States dollars for Zambia’s national response to HIV.
She said to put HIV under complete control, there is need to ensure that everyone infected should get on treatment.
“If you are positive get on treatment and stay on treatment, be an example to your community and encourage others to get screened for HIV. If they are positive, encourage them to get on treatment and stay on treatment,” Ms Williams said.
And UN Resident Coordinator Coumba Mar Gadio said HIV can only come to end if HIV testing is accelerated.