The Ministry of Health has disclosed that 105,000 people in Eastern Province have been put on Anti-Retroviral Therapy(ART) treatment. A local Non-Governmental Organisation called CHISOMO says the increase in HIV cases in the province is as a result of lack of effective sensitisations due to more concentration on COVID-19 by stakeholders.
Provincial Health Director (PHD), Gideon Zulu says of the recorded cases of those on ART shows an increase of 265 cases compared to last year’s 104,852 people put on treatment.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS today, Dr Zulu said 1,391 cases from females aged 15 to 19 years were recorded while males from the same age group had 898 who were found to be receiving ART treatment.
He added that 4,288 females from 20 to 24 tested positive with 1,173 cases recorded among males falling under the same age range.
Dr Zulu said from 25 to 29 years of age, the province has recorded 7,704 females and 2,549 males to be receiving treatment.
He said that from 30 to 34 years of age 3,834 females were found to undergoing treatment while 8,709 were men.
The Provincial Health Director said 28,451 females aged between 35-40 are on ART treatment while 17,720 men of the same age were receiving treatment.
Dr Zulu said of people aged 50 and above 13,407 women and 10,991 men are on ART treatment.
“On HIV, Eastern Province is doing very well in ensuring the that there is the HIV epidemic control across all age groups. Our focus now is to ensure that we reduce on new HIV infections through HIV prevention strategies such as male circumcision, HIV testing and counselling services and PrEp. We have also focused on ensuring that patients on ARVs stay on treatment and have viral suppression, “he said.
And CHISOMO Program Coordinator, Ann Chiseni said more community sensitisations on HIV must be done in order to adequately help in reducing the increasing numbers.
Ms Chiseni said currently more attention is being given to COVID-19 and Malaria thereby forgetting attending to HIV.
“As it is now, there are not many organisations taking up initiatives to do with HIV prevention. For example, the young generation coming up does not have more information on the disease and how they can prevent it. More sensitisations or programs must be done at community level, “she said.
Ms Chiseni has since appealed to Government and other stakeholders to come up with strategic plans to address the fight against HIV just as it is putting up initiatives to fight Malaria and COVID-19.
“We need to go flat out and educate the young generation on HIV because increasing cases among young people in Eastern Province are very worrying, “she said.