MINISTER of Health has said that it is time to act against the premature death from HIV by taking necessary steps to ensure HIV is endemically controlled in Zambia by 2021.
The minister who was speaking at the PF interactive forum said the decision by government to make compulsory HIV testing is to prevent premature HIV deaths.
“Let us not play games, we can prevent premature HIV death,” Dr Chilufya said. “Who tells you it’s your human right to die, or your human right to kill yourself, or to infect the young girls?”
He noted that HIV was responsible for many poverty issues in the Zambia as it has ended up claiming the lives of the breadwinners in homes. “HIV is fueling poverty, it is taking away breadwinners,” Dr Chilufya said. “Let us not pretend we have seen families crumble because a winner has gone.”
He said President Lungu was being a responsible leader by making such a bold step noting that the decision had extreme benefits.
“What is the benefit of this thing you are saying President Lungu is forcing you to do?” he queried. “The benefit of knowing is that we will start you on free treatment if you are found positive.”
He explained that Antiretroviral treatment prevents the virus from replicating and can eventually be reduced to undetectable levels that a person may not even be able to infect the next person.
Dr Chilufya emphasized that the end goal of ART is viral load suppression. He said ART should not be reserved until someone is critically ill.
And the Green Party has issued the following statement regarding the mandatory HIV Testing
GREEN PARTY CHALLENGES THE US AMBASSADOR TO STATE AMERICA’S POSITION ON RECENTLY PROCLAIMED MANDATORY HIV TESTING POLICY IN ZAMBIA
Following the proclamation of the compulsory HIV testing policy by President Edgar Lungu on this week on Monday, this means bilateral support on reducing the incidence and impact of HIV/AIDS in Zambia will used to promote breach of Bill of Rights of the Zambia Constitution of 1996, in particular Articles 15, 17 and 23.
Furthermore, the proclaimed policy will be in breach of international standards on HIV/AIDS testing.
As the Green Party, we note that the bulk of the United States (US) assistance to Zambia, which is provided through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and estimated to be in excess of US$ 250 million per year, which is targeted on improving health with a particular focus on reducing the incidence and impact of HIV/AIDS, is very significant bilateral support to our great Nation. This is probably the largest bilateral support Zambia receives towards HIV/AIDS programming.
While we applaud the support of the American people on this noble cause, however, we do not support the view that such support should be provided to the detriment of the human rights of the Zambian People.
In this regard, we Challenge the US Ambassador to state America’s position on this policy which clearly is blatantly in breach of the Zambian Constitution and International Law.
We further challenge the Ambassador to clarify whether the proclaimed policy is what President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy means for Zambia.
Peter Sinkamba, Green Party President