Panafrican News Agency

More than 51,000 children in Zambia on Anti-Retroviral Therapy

Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) – More than 51,000 children in Zambia aged between 0-14 years have been enrolled on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) in the first quarter of this year, the National AIDS Council (NAC) has disclosed.

NAC policy and planning director, Dr. John Mwale said 51,298 were on ART compared to 46,774 who were on treatment last year and among these 23,461 were male, the state-run Times of Zambia reported Monday.

“Out of the 1.2 million estimated to be living with HIV in Zambia, 1,000,563 were enrolled by the first quarter to 2019 representing 83.4 percent; 350,201 were male and 599,064 were female,” he said.

Mwale said there was significant increase from 970,000 in December 2018 to 1,000,563 by March this year, attributing the trend to the test-and-treat policy which was launched by President Edgar Lungu.

He said the HIV testing coverage had increased from about 41.5 percent in 2013 to 75 percent this year.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Dr. Abel Kabalo said the response to the new HIV drug Tenofovir Alafenamide (TAF) had been good with few side effects.

Kabalo said the ministry had distributed the drug to all 10 provinces in the country and would soon be circulating to districts.

Government recently launched TAF, which is co-formulated with emtricitabine and dolutegravir as one tablet.

The tablet suppresses the viral load within 10 to 14 days.

-0- PANA MM/MA 2Sept2019