Zimbabwe To Provide 40,000 Additional HIV-Positive People With Access to No-Cost Antiretrovirals, Health Minister Says
Zimbabwe plans to provide 40,000 additional HIV-positive people with access to no-cost antiretroviral drugs by the end of the year, Zimbabwe Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa said on Monday at the opening of a three-day workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe, Reuters Africa reports.
At least 300,000 people living with HIV/AIDS are in need of antiretrovirals, Parirenyatwa said. According to Reuters Africa, the country's efforts to increase access to antiretrovirals have been delayed by a shortage of foreign currency, which has increased poverty levels and raised inflation by 3,700%. More than 3,000 people die of AIDS-related illnesses weekly, and 70% of hospital admissions in Zimbabwe are HIV/AIDS-related, Reuters Africa reports.
"Currently, the number of people on antiretrovirals has grown to 80,000 since December last year, and we hope to achieve our target of getting 120,000 by the end of the year," Parirenyatwa said (Reuters Africa, 5/29). He added, "While we have made great strides in ensuring access to treatment, we are aware that some of our people are still dying as a result of inadequate access to antiretrovirals, making universal access commitment very important to the government."
To effectively fight HIV/AIDS, a stronger integrated response to tuberculosis and other AIDS-related diseases is needed, Parirenyatwa said, adding that there also is a need to strengthen the country's health care system (Herald/AllAfrica.com, 5/29).