VISITING academic and former director of the United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids, Baron Peter Piot, has cast doubts over Zimbabwe’s ambition to achieve zero HIV infections by 2030, saying there was still a research gap to identify the root causes of new infections.
BY TINOTENDA MUNYUKWI
Piot, whose visit to the country has been necessitated by the Biomedical Research and Training Institute, said there was an impending bulge of an adolescence population and there was need to expedite research to effectively counter potential infections culminating from this group and not ride on ambitious fallacy that HIV can be eliminated by 2030.
“Do not believe anyone who tells you that Aids will be over by 2030, we have to change the strategy which for many years has focused exclusively on treatment which of cause we need, but neglecting prevention, because we have so many infections worldwide.
“We are not going to stop this epidemic by merely taking a pill, we need to go beyond that and see what really makes people get infected and if you are in research, the job is not finished and it is more important than ever,” Piot told journalists in Harare on Monday .
Government, through the National Aids Council, has set high targets of eliminating the HIV and Aids pandemic by 2030 and to date, an estimated 1,2 million out of a possible 1,4 million are on anti-retroviral therapy.
Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said there was need to extend research on the disease to traditional medicines.
“We want a lot of research here, including traditional medical research which has lagged behind compared to other nations. We want it as operational research, done in a systematic manner. We need to look at it because maybe there is something big there,” Parirenyatwa said.