First Lady Esther Lungu has commended government for initiating a mass campaign to increase the uptake of HIV counselling and testing services.
Mrs. Lungu said government, through the Ministries of Health and of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, has integrated HIV counselling with voluntary medical male circumcision, tuberculosis, maternal and child health services.
She was speaking in Lusaka today when she officiated at the International Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) day commemorations whose theme is ‘universal access to annual HIV counselling and testing’.
Mrs. Lungu, who took advantage of the commemorations by undergoing VCT at Family Health Trust stand, said VCT is the entry point to HIV prevention, care and support.
She pointed out that mobile HIV counselling and testing services had been expanded to target hard to reach areas and school going youths.
Mrs. Lungu has since called on all the stakeholders to engage communities in ensuring that the option B plus implementation is successful in the country.
The VCT commemorations started with a match past from the Olympic Youth Development Centre through to Olympic Africa in Lusaka’s Mandevu constituency.
And United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Janet Rogan, said Zambia was still among the top ten countries in the world with the highest number of people living with HIV despite reaching its MDG target for HIV/AIDS.
Ms. Rogan however applauded Zambia for achieving the national target on stabilizing the epidemic saying the HIV prevalence decreased from 15.6 percent in 2002 to 13.3 percent in 2014.
She urged members of the public to work together and fight stigma in order to create an AIDS free generation by 2020.
Meanwhile, Lusaka Mayor George Nyendwa called for behavioural change towards the fight against HIV/AIDS in Lusaka city.
Mr. Nyendwa said it was not pleasing that the HIV prevalence is still high in Lusaka city.
He disclosed that the Lusaka City Council was committed to ensuring that HIV spread was brought to zero by 2020 through conducting VCT services in all the wards.