A ZIMBABWE Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA 2020) survey has shown that Zimbabwe is making good progress towards achieving HIV epidemic control by 2030.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
The report was released on Tuesday when the country joined the global community in commemorating World Aids Day.
ZIMPHIA 2020 found that 86.8 % of adults living with HIV were aware of their status and of those aware of their status, 97% were on anti-retroviral treatment.
In a statement, ZIMPHIA 2020 said among those on treatment, 90,3% achieved viral load suppression.
“According to the survey, the rate of annual new HIV infections among adults in Zimbabwe is 0,38% (0,54% among women and 0,20% among men) or approximately 31 000 persons over a year.
“The prevalence of HIV among adults was 12,9%, which corresponds to approximately 1,23 million adults in Zimbabwe living with HIV in 2020,” the statement read.
ZIMPHIA said the survey found that HIV prevalence was higher among women than men, constituting 15,3% in men as compared to 10,2 % in women.
The survey was led by the government of Zimbabwe through the Health ministry and conducted between November 2019 and March 2020.
The US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), technical assistance from and in partnership with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supported the survey implemented by ICAP at Columbia University and national institutions.
Health secretary Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza said the ZIMPHIA 2020 findings demonstrated how Zimbabwe’s national HIV policies and programmes had contributed to increased access to treatment and viral load suppression among adults living with HIV.
“This survey has helped us understand where we have made great progress and which areas we need to focus on in the future. With these data, we can strengthen our programmes on HIV prevention, including testing, especially for young men and women,” he said.
CDC Zimbabwe country director Michael Melchior said the results of the ZIMPHIA 2020 survey were encouraging and demonstrated remarkable progress towards the global goal to control the HIV epidemic.
“Over 90% of people on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment in Zimbabwe are virally suppressed, which keeps them healthy and effectively eliminates the possibility of sexually transmitting HIV to their partners,” he said.
ICAP in Zimbabwe country director Godfrey Musuka said the survey showed that ongoing prevention efforts should focus on young men and women.
“This survey provides critical insights into accomplishments based on the strategic hard work over the last five years, such as in anti-retroviral therapy uptake and viral load suppression.”
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