The Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) is of the view that the policy on mandatory testing for HIV can positively impact on the fight against HIV whose prevalence still remains quite high. According to UNAIDS, an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV in Zambia.
The policy if properly implemented can contribute to significantly reducing new infections, HIV related illnesses and deaths as it focuses on establishing the presence of the virus during a health care intervention which is critical in preventing replication of the virus and subsequent progression of the condition.
We therefore implore the Ministry of Health (MoH) to quickly provide guidelines on how the policy will be implemented to curtail the misinformation that is circulating on social media and allay any fears that may have arisen as a result of the announcement of the policy.
We further call for robust sensitization to help people appreciate the importance of knowing their status. Mandatory HIV testing has been successful in the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child during pregnancy.
Testing must also go hand in hand with adequate counselling, correct information regarding treatment options and the progress made in medical science in the management of HIV.
ZAMBIA NATIONAL WOMEN’S LOBBY BOARD CHAIRPERSON.