The SADC Member States and partners in the national response to HIV and AIDS have been urged not to shift HIV and AIDS resources to other areas as the pandemic is still far from over. Speaking at the official opening of the ongoing joint meeting of SADC Ministers of Health and Ministers responsible for HIV and AIDS in Victoria Falls on the 14th of January 2015, SADC Chairperson Health Ministers, Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa said that HIV and AIDS remains one of the ‘triple diseases burden alongside TB and Malaria.
GOVERNMENT is with effect from this month switching all people on HIV treatment to a new one of one tablet per day from the previous three pills to make it easier for patients not to default on taking medication. The new single tablet has a combination of three drugs (Tenofovir/Lamivudine/Efavirenz TLE), a departure from the previous complicated treatment of three different tablets namely Tenofovir, Lovovidine and Nevirapine (TLN). The government estimates that 1. 3 million people are living with HIV, of which 187 000 of them are children under the age of 15 years.
HARARE - A partnership by the National AIDS Council (NAC), NatPharm and some pharmarcies in the private sector has resulted in the drop in prices of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) that will now be accessed for US$17 down from an average US$55 currently prevailing. The development comes after NAC launched the increased access to treatment plan, which will see them procure ARVs in bulk at the manufacturing rate.The drugs will then be distributed by NatPharm and licensed pharmacies in the private sector.
NAC Zimbabwe is set to adopt new World Health Organization (WHO) Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) guidelines which have reviewed the stage at which a person living with HIV can be initiated on ART. The guidelines now states that a person living with HIV can be initiated on Antiretroviral therapy if his or her CD4 count is 500 or below (up from 350). Zimbabwe is currently using the 2010 WHO guidelines which use CD4 count of 350 for ART initiation. National AIDS Council Chief Executive Officer Dr Tapuwa Magure announced the new development at a NAC progress review management meeting. “ WHO has released new ART guidelines, recommending ART initiation to be done using CD4 count of 500 up from 350. As a country we will review and adopt this recommendation.”
At least 25 percent of children born with HIV in Zimbabwe are a result of mothers who would have shunned anti-retroviral Therapy (ART),a senior Government health official has said. Ministry of Health and Child Welfare national Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) co-ordinator Dr Angela Mushavi said a further 75 percent of HIV-positive children were born to mothers whose CD4 count is below 350. According to health experts, a CD4 count that is less than 350 is life-threatening for pregnant women. “Seventy-five percent of the HIV born babies in the country are by mothers who have CD4 counts less than 350,” said Dr Mushavi. “The other 25 percent is a result of mothers who delay initiation of ART because they would have undertaken HIV and Aids tests at a late stage of pregnancy.”
A new progress report released by UNICEF titled "Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed" is showing a sharp drop in the estimated number of deaths among children under the age of five worldwide. This number fell from nearly 12 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2011. Releasing the report, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said, “The global decline in under-five mortality is a significant success that is a testament to the work and dedication of many, including governments, donors, agencies and families.” The report combines mortality estimates with insights into the top killers of children under five and the high-impact strategies that are needed to accelerate progress.
Justine, a 38-year-old Ugandan woman, tested positive for HIV during an antenatal visit at the local health centre when she was pregnant with her fourth child. After disclosing her HIV status to her husband, he left home and never came back. She did not go through the pregnancy alone though. Justine had the support from her peers at Giramatsiko Post Test Club, a grassroots organization established in 2002 in Kabwohe, Uganda. The organization was set up by seven women living with HIV with the aim to empower and educate their peers about HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. In addition to focusing on their health and physical well-being, Giramatisko also empowers women to understand their rights to health services.
UNAIDS welcomes new guidelines for couples on HIV testing and counselling and on offering antiretroviral therapy to people living with HIV in couples to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their partner
GENEVA, 19 April 2012—New guidelines have been issued encouraging couples to go together for HIV testing in order to know their HIV status. The guidelines, released by the World Health Organization (WHO), also recommend that in couples who are serodiscordant—where one partner is living with HIV and the other not—antiretroviral therapy is offered to the person living with HIV to prevent his or her partner from becoming infected with the virus.
Mercy Kaitano (not her real name), a 28-year-old woman living with HIV, receives anti-retroviral drugs (ARV) from a local clinic in Mabvuku suburb every month. The drugs are supplied through funding from the Global Fund (GF). Kaitano was introduced onto the ARV treatment regime in 2007 after her husband died of an HIV-related ailment. “Being on the programme is not easy. Sometimes when you visit the clinic, they will tell you the drugs have run out. If I don’t take the drugs constantly, it means I will become drug resistant. There is need for uninterrupted supply of drugs to patients,” she said.