Govt launches countrywide hiv testing and counselling campaign
Lusaka,November,25,ZANIS—Government has launched a country wide HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC) campaign ahead of the World Aids Day commemorated annually on December 1 .
Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health Emmerine Kabanshi said the campaign will be concentrated in the 12 key districts which have relatively low HIV testing rates affecting the HIV status of the country.
Ms Kabanshi noted that HTC was a critical entry point to HIV prevention and treatment in the country.
ZANIS reports that Ms Kabanshi was speaking in Lusaka today at the launch of the World Aids Day HTC.
The Minister said Zambia is implementing Universal access to HIV testing so as to increase the number of people who know their HIV status in order to help them avoid acquiring or passing on the virus to others.
Ms Kabanshi cited stigma as one of the main barriers to universal access and utilization of HIV and AIDS related services.
She said in order to overcome the stigma barrier government among other things is educating members of the community to stop shaming and isolating people living with HIV.
Ms Kabanshi urged the media to help disseminate HIV information to the public in order to curb the pandemic.
Meanwhile, UNAIDS Country Director Medhin Tsehaiu said there was need to double the commitment towards HIV responses and treatment.
She revealed that the UNAIDS gap reports shows 19 million out of the 35 million people living with HIV globally do not know their HIV status.
Dr. Tsehaiu commended government for its commitment in fighting the pandemic and called for concerted efforts from the private sector if the HIV/AIDS fight could be won.