NEW HIV INFECTIONS WORRY BANDA

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By KALOBWE BWALYA

IT is unacceptable that Zambia still records high numbers of new HIV infections and all Zambians should take interest by testing to know their status, says Circles of Hope National Facilitator Bishop Joshua Banda.

Dr Banda said though the number seemed to have drastically reduced to about 47, 000 new HIV infections annually compared to the past, the situation was still unacceptable and was worrisome.

He said sensitisation programmes should be scaled up in communities for people to access health services for testing, counselling and enhanced access to treatment.

Dr Banda said 90-90-90 goals of the United Nations which Zambia has subscribed to on  HIV elimination aimed at diagnosing  90 percent of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90 percent of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90 percent of those treated by 2020.

He said this in Lusaka yesterday during a meeting with community leaders, Ministry of Health and  other stakeholders on the importance of sensitisation and the need for people to know their HIV status.

Dr Banda said Circles of Hope which operated under the auspices of Assemblies of God church, had identified Ministry of Health, Centre for Disease Control (CDC) as some of the partners it was working with.

 He said the outreach initiative came up with the model of mobilising the community which has allowed it to put 70 people on treatment per day.

“This model is working and it is now targeting specific communities and have 23 outposts within the communities, among them, John Lang, Matero and Chawama. We work with actual community leaders to train and continue sensitising people about the importance of knowing their HIV status.

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