BY TADIWA NYATANGA
PREPARATIONS for this year’s World Aids Day (WAD) commemorations are at an advanced stage with the National AIDS Council (NAC) confident of hosting a radiant event.
The event will be held on Wednesday 1 December at the Chinhoyi University Of Technology, Mashonaland West province. The event will be held under the theme: End pandemics. End inequalities. End Aids. The theme calls for every Zimbabwean to prioritise not just HIV testing but also prevention interventions for other pandemics such as Covid-19 and addressing inequalities that hinder access to HIV and other health related services. There is a need to continue addressing bottlenecks in health services delivery and non-communicable diseases so that Zimbabwe can achieve the global goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
Regarding inequalities, the groups that are likely to experience inequalities in terms of access to health services are key populations – sex workers, adolescent girls and young women, adolescent boys and young men, men who have sex with men, transgender, artisanal miners, fishermen, cross border traders, long-distance truck drivers, and farming communities, among others. Social and economic inequalities also need to be addressed so as to end AIDS.
Speaking during the launch of the World Aids Campaign theme and logo, NAC’s Mashonaland West provincial manager, David Nyamurera confirmed that all was set for the commemorations. “All stakeholders and inter-ministerial committees are working hand in glove and we are confident of hosting a seamless event,” he said. He added that Covid-19 prevention guidelines will be adhered to during the function.
About 143 000 people in the host province are living with HIV and about 133 000 are on anti-retroviral therapy.
NAC and all their partners in the response to HIV continue to call for strengthening of prevention strategies which include testing and counselling, voluntary medical male circumcision, Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission, HIV treatment, zero discrimination, no gender-based violence and condom use.
The Candlelight Memorial as well as a number of pre-launch activities will be held ahead of World AIDS Day.
Last year’s commemorations were held in Harare and were hybrid in nature in compliance with Covid-19 prevention regulations. The 2021 commemorations will take place in similar style.
Globally, World Aids Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died due to Aids.