During the commemoration of the 2023 National HIV/AIDS Testing, Counselling, and Treatment Day at the University of Zambia’s Great East Road Campus, Vice President Nalumango unveiled the stark revelation that an estimated 90,000 adolescents in Zambia, aged between 10 and 19, are living with HIV.
Amidst this somber disclosure, a glimmer of hope emerges from the data. Vice President Nalumango shared that annual HIV/AIDS infection rates in the country exhibited a statistically significant decline. In 2022, infection rates witnessed a noteworthy reduction to 33%, a noteworthy contrast to the previous year’s 43%.
Health Minister Sylvia Masebo echoed Vice President Nalumango’s concern, acknowledging the alarming prevalence of HIV/AIDS among Zambian adolescents. Masebo issued a heartfelt plea to the nation’s youth, urging them to take proactive ownership of their health by actively participating in HIV testing. Emphasizing the inseparable link between testing and securing a healthier future, Masebo’s message reverberated as a call to action.
Lusaka Province Minister Sheal Mulyata emphasized the enduring importance of integrating the fight against HIV/AIDS into the fabric of the government’s political agenda. Mulyata highlighted the critical role that sustained commitment plays in fostering comprehensive awareness, prevention, and care.
Tharcisse Barihuta, the Country Director of UNAIDS, also chimed in with a compelling call to action. Barihuta urged young people to prioritize HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, underscoring the paramount importance of early detection and access to necessary medical care.
As Zambia commemorates the National HIV/AIDS Testing, Counselling, and Treatment Day the event serves as both a somber reminder of the ongoing battle and a beacon of hope, reflecting the collective determination to empower individuals, enhance awareness, and ultimately eliminate the scourge of HIV/AIDS.