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Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

In order to further strengthen the Zambian health sector and to also protect the lives of the people, the Zambian government have decided to make HIV/AIDS test mandatory in public health institutions. This act is being implemented to prevent further loss of life from the disease which has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the country.

President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu explained that the HIV/AIDS pandemic had since 1984 claimed more than one million lives, while more than 1.2 million more people were currently living with the virus, and this has had a negative impact on national development. This death increase prompted the government to impose a mandatary HIV test for everyone who visits the hospital.

Lungu further explained that the matter was debated in details during Monday’s Cabinet meeting, with the discussion culminating in the resolution to implement the measure with a view to helping wipe out the disease by 2030. He said it is important to get tested for the disease:

“This bold decision prioritises HIV testing and immediate commencement and retention on Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) treatment of all Zambians living with HIV. If you think that, just because you don’t fall sick then all is well, one day you will drop dead and we will know (your status) when you are in the morgue. So get tested so that you know your status.”

Reports have confirmed that the president said this at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka yesterday when he officiated at the launch of the 2017 HIV Testing, Counseling and Treatment Day, which was commemorated under the theme ‘Test and Treat: Towards Ending AIDS’.

In response to this mandatory HIV test, some Zambians believed that the compulsory HIV testing will attract more stigma and discrimination among peers while some believed that it is better to know ones health status so that proper treatment will be given to prevent sudden death.

In addition, Lungu said that anytime people fall ill, they will be subjected to all tests, including HIV/AIDS . Those testing positive for HIV-AIDS would immediately be put on treatment to help control the disease. This is way to tackle the disease and to eradicate it from the country even before 2030.

Further more, the president called on assistance from stakeholders to support the measure, emphasising on the need to empower people who tested negative with information to help them maintain their status by avoiding infection and also living a long and better life.

Calling for more supports, United Nations (UN) resident coordinator Janet Rogan said controlling HIV/AIDS could not be achieved by the Government alone, but in concert with other stakeholders’ efforts, especially those designed to promote good moral conduct among the people. She further said working together could go a long way in achieving the target goals:

“Traditional leaders have a role to play in this. This will help us reduce stigma and encourage drug intake among patients because HIV/AIDS will be controlled by our own actions.”

Reports further confirmed that United States (US) Charge’D Affaires Christopher Craft had explained that HIV/AIDS testing was crucial for Zambia to attain an HIV-AIDS free population. He also said that United States had helped Zambia with USD$3 billion to help control HIV, with 8,000 patients on ART.

President of Zambia is working really hard to protect the lives of his citizens against the deadly disease, HIV/AIDS. He further urged everyone to practise the preventive ways against the disease so as to make it easy for the government to eradicate HIV from the country before 2030.

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