Milestone in HIV fight

PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has said Tanzania has managed to reduce new HIV infections by 58 per cent through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

According to the Premier, the new infections have dropped from 130,000 in 2003 to 54,000 in 2021.

He said the plan has brought great changes in the fight against HIV, including helping to reduce HIV related deaths by 76 per cent from 120,000 deaths in 2003 to 29,000 in 2021.

The PM   made the remarks in Dar es Salaam on Thursday during the celebrations of 20 years success in the fight again HIV/ AIDS through the PEPFAR support.

“The government of Tanzania will continue to support the PEPFAR’s plan in its effort to continue building health infrastructure and providing training among health care providers.

He said the government will continue to support the fund in constructing health infrastructure, providing training and diagnosis, personal protective gears, including setting up systems for monitoring infections.

“The government of Tanzania is aware that the US government is key partner in the fight against HIV in the country, as it has invested 6.6 billion US dollars for fighting the pandemic,” he said.

PM noted that the PEPFAR is currently helping more than 1.5 million people living with HIV in terms of treatment through the life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) programme.

He added that before the programme there were not more than 1,000 people living with HIV who were receiving life saving drugs.

He said that the government of Tanzania is proud to collaborate with the US government through PEPFAR to attain the 95/95/95 goals by 2025.

“We are currently conducting a research on effects of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania in 2022/2023 through PEPFAR programme, which aims at providing important information in preparing strategies for preventing new infections and ensure that people are aware of their HIV status,” he said.

On her part, PEPFAR Tanzania Representative Jessica Greene said that despite the success recorded there still a lot to be done to ensure access to services is increased especially to girls, women youths, children and social groups which are at high risk of contracting the diseases.

Since its inception in 2003, under the former US President George Bush, the US government has invested more than 100 billion US dollars in the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide, including 7 billion US dollars provided to Tanzania.

In November last year, the  United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)  commended Tanzania for consistently reducing the number of new HIV infections and deaths by 50 percent between 2010 and 2021.

Reports indicate that in 2010 the number of people who were newly infected by HIV stood at 110,000 and AIDS related deaths accounted for 54, 0000 lives.

UNAIDS Executive Director (ED) Ms Winnie Byanyima disclosed this during the launch of the new UNAIDS Report dubbed ‘Dangerous Inequalities’ in Dar es Salaam.

According to her, the commendable milestone recorded by Tanzania was among reasons that pushed UNAIDS to launch the global report within the country.

“The number of new infections and deaths have dropped by 50 per cent since 2010…it shows that Tanzania is a leader and strong performer in fighting this disease,” said Ms Byanyima.

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