HomeLocal NewsOver half a million people need ART

Over half a million people need ART

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About 600 000 people living with HIV/Aids are still in need of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Zimbabwe, Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera has said.

“By the end of 2010, Zimbabwe had achieved 77% (300 000 people) coverage towards our universal access target,” he said.

“However, 593 000 people living with HIV in the country are still in need of ART.”

Zimbabwe recently adopted the new World Health Organisation treatment guidelines which recommend starting ART as a CD4 count of 350, instead of the previous 200.

Adoption of this new standard meant an immediate rise in the number of people in need of treatment to 593 000 from 340 000.

Madzorera said the ministry had expanded ART sites throughout the country.

“Our aim is to reach 85% ART coverage by 2015 by expanding and decentralising treatment services to all district and various rural health centres,” he said.

“By December 2010, there were 128 ART initiating sites and 382 follow up sites.”

He said the late initiation of ART was a major cause of high mortality rates during the first years of the programme.

The National Aids Council (NAC) has targeted the estimated annual number of Aids-related deaths would be reduced from 66 000 in 2009 to 46 200 by 2015.

By the end of 2010, a total of 314 937 adults (60% female) with advanced HIV infection were on ART, representing a coverage of 54% based on the revised WHO guidelines.

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