'Zim needs to scale up HIV/Aids treatment for minors'

HARARE - Zimbabwe, which has since reached universal goal of adult treatment for HIV/Aids, has been called upon to scale up treatment for children living with the disease.

Currently, 95 percent of adults have access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) while only 42 percent of children living with the disease have access to treatment.

Children only account for about 189 233 of the 1,2 million people living with HIV/Aids but where adult access to prevention and treatment has been scaled up, less than half of children requiring treatment have access to it.

In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, UNAids country coordinator Tatiana Shoumilina said this situation was largely due to the fact that some families did not realise the need for children to get tested because of the stigma surrounding the disease.

“Have we used all the mechanisms, all the strengths that we have to address the issues we need to address, paediatric HIV treatment is at the level at which it was at the end of 2012,” Shoumilina said.

The country coordinator said the lack of medical services hindered access to treatment in some communities.

“Children are more delicate and their regiments are different.

Community has a role to play on that one, involvement of community leaders like the chief who can go to some team of medical professionals and ask them to come and have a look at the children, look at their mothers and their families,” Shoumilina said. - Thelma Chikwanha, Features Editor

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