Kitwe Mayor, Mwaya Mpasa says there is a growing number of new HIV infections among adolescents due to the rampant prevalence of unprotected sex among youths.
Ms. Mwaya has also observed that there is need to curb the spread of HIV among youths and to ensure that all HIV infected people are put on treatment if the country is to attain the zero new infection rate by the year 2030.
Speaking in Kitwe today during the 2022 HIV counseling, testing and treatment day, Ms. Mwaya also urged people that are on HIV treatment to continue adhering to their treatment and to stop engaging in unprotected sex to reduce the spread of the HIV pandemic.
“People should take advantage of this day to test and know their HIV status, it is sadly noted that most people especially men do not want to go for Voluntary Testing and would want to test through their pregnant wives who go through a mandatory HIV test, further you find that people who are HIV positive engage in unprotected sex which resultes in increased new HIV cases and also re-infection which is a draw back in the fight against the pandemic and the attainment of the zero infection rate by 2030,” She said.
The Kitwe Mayor has since cautioned people living with HIV not to willfully infect others.
Ms. Mwaya further disclosed that evidence on HIV/AIDs indicate that a proportion of new infections of up to 29 per cent envolve adolescents and young people aged between 15 and 24 years while seven percent of HIV exposed infants become infected with the virus at the end of their two-year breastfeeding period.
And Kitwe District Administrative Officer, Mwamba Mulenga said it is government’s desire for citizens to be health for the desired national development to be achieved.
Mr. Mulenga urged Kitwe residents to make use of the HIV/AIDS services provided by government and other stakeholders to protect themselves and improve their health.
” It is encouraging to see citizens being provided with these important services that are aimed at improving their health, as government we are gratified to our partners for providing these services and organizing such events,” Mr. Mulenga said.
The 2022 HIV counseling, testing and treatment commemorations were held at Kamatipa Clinic under the theme ‘ Lets stop HIV together; Get Tested today!’
Meanwhile, the Chongwe District Health Office says HIV still remains a disease of concern in the district.
District Health Director, Nseluke Mweene during the commemoration of the HIV testing, counseling and treatment day in Chongwe said that the scourge of HIV has continued to pose a threat to the country’s development.
Dr. Mweene said the rise of infections is not only high among the young ones but also adults and it needs concerted efforts among all stakeholders to ensure everyone gets tested and help required to fight HIV.
He said the commemoration aims at strengthening the zeal to encourage more citizens to get tested and utilize the HIV service being offered by the government in the District.
Dr. Mweene called on the community to work together in fighting the scourge and further thanked cooperating partners for their continued support towards reducing HIV infections in the district.
Speaking when he graced the occasion, Chongwe District Commissioner Evans Lupiya said HTCT is an important component in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
Dr. Lupiya said young people who know about their HIV status have a higher chance of reducing the infections to others by acquiring HIV treatment and care.
The District Commissioner said the government is fully committed to ensuring that services for prevention and treatment of HIV are accessible to all populations including persons living with disabilities.
He explained that it is important to reach all groups of people in the fight against the pandemic to reach the country’s goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
Dr. Lupiya said that studies indicate that a large proportion of new infections of up 29 percent are attributed to adolescents and young people between ages of 10 to 24 year.
He observed that men are still lagging behind in accessing and using HIV testing services and called on men to get involved in the fight against the disease by getting tested.
CIDERS Congowe District Coordinator, Elly Mweetwa said her organization remains committed to contributing to finding solutions of public health challenges the country is grappling with, especially in the area of HIV prevention care and treatment.
Ms. Mweetwa explained that CIDERS has continued to facilitate health programs in the district through different levels and access to important quality health care.
She said HIV testing is a get way to to archiving the goal to ending AIDS by 2030 adding that this year’s theme ‘let’s stop HIV together and get tested today” resonates with ciders work towards