'Daily HIV/Aids infections down to 200'

HARARE - Around 200 people are being infected with HIV everyday in Zimbabwe down from 400, as the country moves to achieve zero infections by 2015.

The new statistics were revealed yesterday at the first symposium on HIV/Aids, human rights and the law currently underway in Harare.

Michael Bartos, UNAids country coordinator said: “If we look at the latest estimates they suggest that today, this day, this 24-hour period around 200 people will become infected with HIV in Zimbabwe.
“So let’s just think about one of those 200 people, what is that person likely to be like? Well she’s likely to be young and it will be a woman, she will probably be in her early 20s, she will be infected through relations with probably her older male partner.”

The UNAids 2011 to 2015 strategy is a road map for the joint programme with goals marking milestones on the path to achieving UNAids’ vision of “zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero Aids-related deaths.”

“The majority of those who access (ART) are women with a figure around 370 000 while men are around 220 000,” said Aids and TB director in the ministry of Health Owen Mugurungi.

“This is because the possibility is that more men might be accessing their drugs through the private sector.”

Organised by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in collaboration with the ministry of Health and Child Welfare and the National Aids Council, the symposium is providing a unique intersection between HIV and the law in the context of socio-economic rights and fundamental freedoms.

Tinashe Mundawarara HIV/Aids, Human Rights and Law project manager of ZLHR said the symposium is elevating the discourse of law and human rights to the level of a national strategy benchmark.

The two-day conference, which ends today, will look at the opportunities at law for HIV prevention, treatment and care.

“The human rights discourse will help to locate the rights and fundamental freedoms of those infected and affected by HIV in the current and future national policies forming the basis of community interventions,” said Mundawarara.

He said focus on vulnerable groups would see efforts being directed towards sex workers and prisoner’s rights in the context of HIV. The symposium is also focusing on law and policy reform particularly for such issues as criminalisation of HIV transmission, sex workers and prison conditions.


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