Zambia: HIV/AIDS testing now mandatory in Zambia

Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) – HIV/AIDS testing is now mandatory in public health institutions as the Zambian Government acts to prevent further loss of life from the pandemic which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives since the mid-1980s, President Edgar Lungu has announced.

President Lungu said the HIV/AIDS pandemic had since 1984 claimed more than one million lives, while more than 1.2 million more people were currently living with the virus, and this had had a negative impact on national development, state media reported on Wednesday.

The President said this when he officiated at the launch of the 2017 HIV Testing, Counselling and Treatment day, which was commemorated under the theme, “Test and Treat: Towards Ending AIDS.”

President Lungu disclosed that the matter was debated in detail during Monday’s Cabinet meeting with the discussion culminating in the resolution to implement the measure with a view to helping to wipe out the pandemic by 2030.

“If you think that just because you don’t fall sick then all is well, one day you will drop dead; we will know (your status) when you are in the morgue. So get tested so that you know your status,” Lungu said.

The President explained that when people fell ill, they would be subjected to all tests, including HIV/AIDS. Those who test positive for HIV/AIDS will be immediately put on treatment.

President Lungu called on stakeholders to support the measure, emphasising the need to empower people who tested negative with information to help them maintain their status by avoiding infection.

According to the president, from 2010 to 2016, the Government had reduced HIV prevalence by 41 percent, 8,000 patients were on Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) and 80 percent of the infected adult population was on treatment.

The Government is taking an integrated approach to the problem to ensure that the country meets its 2030 target of eliminating HIV in all communities across the country.
-0- PANA MM/MA 16Aug2017

16 août 2017 08:37:41

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