THE new World Health Organisation (WHO) anti-retroviral treatment (ART) guidelines of a CD4 count threshold of 500 will increase demand for ARV therapy by 75 000 people in 2014, an official has said.
REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
A CD4 count is a blood test to determine how well the immune system is working in people who have been diagnosed with human with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
In a statement accompanying its 2012 financial results National Aids Council (NAC) chairman David Mutambara said as a result there was need to intensify resource mobilisation measures to ensure the programme becomes sustainable.
An estimated 1 242 768 people live with HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe.
About 86,1% are in need of ART treatment.
“The introduction of the new WHO treatment guidelines of a CD4 count threshold of 500 brings with it an increase in the demand for treatment by an estimated
75 000 new clients in 2014,” said Mutambara.
“There is need to intensify resource mobilisation to ensure that the country covers the treatment gap post the 2016 period to ensure programme sustainability.”
Mutambara said the country had already received financial support towards the national response from the Global Fund to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria up to 2016.
On male circumcision programmes, Mutambara said there had been a decrease in the number of males who were circumcised in 2012 compared to the previous year.
“The buy-in into the male circumcision strategy has continued to be a drawback to the achievement of targets. A total of
40 755 (40,8%) men were circumcised in 2012 against an annual target of 100 000. There was a decrease in the number of men circumcised from 50 580 to 40 755 in 2012,” he said.
NAC said total investments in the different HIV programmes went up by 14,5% from $34,7 million in 2011 to $39,8 million in 2012.
“Of this amount, $30,7 million (77,1%) went into HIV and Aids interventions, with our flagship programmes on prevention and treatment taking up 12,9% and 58% of total spending respectively,” said Mutambara.