WHO, UNAIDS back Zambia ‘s universal access to knowledge of HIV status

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Lulu Haangala-Wood (left) United Nations Programme on HIV:AIDS (Unaids Zambia) Country Director Dr. Medhin Tsehaiu(centre), Mr Chibamba of Zambia National AIDS Council (right) Photo by Kwitu Photography
The world Health Organisation ( WHO ) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS ( UNAIDS ) have endorsed and encouraged universal access to knowledge of HIV status in the country.

The two world bodies pointed out that there are many advantages to taking an HIV/AIDS test adding that people who are found to be living with HIV can be linked to immediate offer of antiretroviral therapy ( ART ) saying the antiretroviral therapy maximizes the benefits for an individual’s health.

They narrated that effective antiretroviral therapy, when viral load suppression is achieved can prevent HIV transmission to sexual partners.

The organizations explain that antiretroviral therapy prevents mother-to-child transmission of HIV adding that knowledge of HIV status also enables people to make informed personal decisions about using a range of effective HIV prevention options, including male and female condoms, harm reduction and pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, or undergoing voluntary medical male circumcision.

They added that early antiretroviral therapy maximizes the benefits for an individual’s health and effective antiretroviral therapy, when viral load suppression is achieved, can prevent HIV transmission to sexual and drug injecting partners and prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

According to the two organisations , at the end of 2016, approximately 30 percent of people living with HIV were still unaware of their HIV status.

Out of this involved young people aged 15-24, adult males and people from key populations, men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, people who inject drugs and people in prisons and other closed settings often have significantly lower access to HIV testing services, are less likely to be linked to treatment and care and have lower levels of viral suppression.

The two world bodies believe that HIV testing services are an essential gateway to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

They stressed that increased access to and uptake of HIV testing is central to achieving the 90-90-90 targets endorsed in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS.

They encouraged that public health strategies and human rights promotions must be mutually reinforced.

WHO and UNAIDS continue to highlight that all HIV testing services must adhere to the WHO 5 Cs which are Consent, Confidentiality, Counselling, Correct status and Connections.

By 2020, 90% of people (children, adolescents and adults, males and females) living with HIV know their status, 90% of people living with HIV who know their status are receiving antiretroviral treatment and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads according to the two organisations.

This is contained in a Joint statement made available to ZANIS, last evening.

7 COMMENTS

  1. +1
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    Still rrying to fix the controversy caused by announcement of mandatory testing made by the president.
    Just accept it was an ill advised directive by the president . Let it lie and dont keep digging it up just to justify a monumental public relations disaster.

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      Why don’t some African leaders use their country’s hospitals? South Africa’s minister says they should be “ashamed” of this so-called health tourism.
      It’s an utter nonsense that these “leaders” don’t think their citizens deserve the same healthcare they are getting privately abroad….

  2. vote

    “The world Health Organisation ( WHO ) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS ( UNAIDS ) have endorsed and encouraged universal access to knowledge of HIV status in the country”……They did not mention compulsory testing because they know that it is not ethical and against human rights and individual privacy.

  3. vote

    The WHO etc said they are about the 5 C first on being CONSENT , CONSENT is not mandatory.AMOS CHANDA can you CLARIFY the difference between CONSENT and MANDATORY as our president doesn’t seem to know even though he maintains he is a lawyer, albeit who lost his licence to practise for misappropriation of a widowed clients funds.

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