HIV prevalence increases in North Western Province

It is saddening to note that the HIV prevalence in the province is steadily increasing despite a reduction at national level, North Western Province Minister Dawson Kafwaya has said.

The national HIV prevalence has reduced from 14.3 to 13.3 percent at national level.

Speaking at Kisasa primary school grounds in Solwezi during the commemoration of the National Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) day, Mr. Kafwaya called for the need to intensify the fight against HIV to turn around the fortunes.

He said the national VCT day played an important role in the HIV /AIDS response as VCT is an entry point to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

“The VCT day provides an opportunity to get tested and know our status and knowledge of one’s status empowers a person to make informed choices,” Mr. Kafwaya said.

He said government under President Edgar Lungu had ensured that there was improved access to HIV counselling and testing, condom use, voluntary medical male circumcision, elimination of mother to child transmission services, treatment and quality information among others.

“These and many other achievements were possible with focus and the drive to achieve,” he said.

He called on all stakeholders to apply more efforts to record successes in the HIV counselling and testing by intensifying demand for the service through interrelated interventions.

Mr Kafwaya said expanded access to testing through integration with other programmes and integrated behaviour change communication were important.

He commended managements of First Quantum minerals (Kalumbila, Kansanshi) and Barrick Lumwana for their efforts in ensuring that Zambia attained a nation free from the threat of HIV/AIDS.

This year’s national VCT day was commemorated under the theme ‘’universal access to annual HIV counselling and testing’’.

Earlier, First Quantum Minerals health advisor Gertrude Musunka said her company was aware of the possible impact that follow the setting up of such a project, such as the influx of people from every part of the country and beyond.

Meanwhile, North Western Provincial AIDS task force chairperson, chief Mumena called for concerted efforts among stakeholders if the spread of HIV was to be curbed.