HARARE, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe has achieved HIV epidemic control, with its response to the scourge remaining on course despite the negative impact of COVID-19, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
In a speech to mark World AIDS Day, which falls on Friday, Mnangagwa said over the past 10 years, Zimbabwe recorded the highest decline of 78 percent in new HIV infections in East and Southern Africa. "We have to redouble our efforts, mop up new infections and sharpen our focus on most-at-risk groups," he said.
In addition to success on HIV prevention, Zimbabwe has increased anti-retroviral therapy coverage to 99 percent of the 1.3 million people living with HIV, he said.
He congratulated the country on achieving the 95-95-95 targets among adults ahead of schedule, saying this was a commendable milestone.
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS aims for HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression rates to be 95 percent by 2025.
Mnangagwa, however, expressed concern that the coverage is lagging behind among children, with HIV status known for only 64 percent of those estimated to be living with HIV.
He challenged the Ministry of Health and Child Care, stakeholders and partners to scale up the necessary interventions including by ensuring that all pregnant women register for antenatal care.
"The progress we have made in response to HIV has to be sustained," he said. He thanked development partners for their support to Zimbabwe in fighting the epidemic over the years.
Zimbabwe will host the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA 2023) from Monday to Saturday next week.
The conference is an important platform for sharing and experiencing cutting-edge evidence and lessons in response to HIV and other epidemics afflicting the continent and the world. ■