Majority of HIV-Positive Zambians Without Access To Antiretroviral Drugs
Twenty-five percent of HIV-positive people in Zambia are receiving antiretroviral drugs, according to Japhet Ndholvu, chair of the Zambia Interfaith Networking Group on HIV/AIDS, or ZINGO, the Times of Zambia/Xinhua News Agency reports (Times of Zambia/Xinhua News Agency, 8/1). Zambia in 2005 aimed to have 100,000 HIV-positive people receiving antiretrovirals by the end of the year, but the country reached only about half its target in that time, Albert Mwango, national coordinator of antiretroviral treatment at the Central Board of Health, said. Because of a shortage of antiretrovirals, no new HIV-positive people are being enrolled in Zambia's HIV treatment program, though there are enough antiretrovirals for those already enrolled, according to Mwango (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/17). In addition, discrimination against HIV-positive people, shame and stigma continue to propel the epidemic in the country and contribute to the low use of voluntary HIV counseling and testing, according to Ndholvu. "The challenges that our country faces require that we engage in leaps and bounds if we are to make significant headway," Ndholvu said at a ZINGO national conference. U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Carmen Martinez at the meeting said that the U.S. this year plans to provide to Zambia $150 million in HIV/AIDS funding through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Times of Zambia/Xinhua News Agency, 8/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.