Survey to assess HIV prevalence launched  

THE government has launched the Tanzania HIV Impact Survey (THIS) 2022-2023 which measures the progress of the national HIV response and assess its current prevalence.

The survey which was launched in Mwanza last week by the Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs), Mr George Simbachawene on behalf of Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, also seeks to determine the prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infections countrywide.

THIS 2022 -2023 survey will be spearheaded by the government and supported by the United States of America’s (USA) Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with technical support from the US Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).

Other partners include US Agency for International Development (USAID), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Peace Corps, Tacaids Tanzania, National Council for People Living with HIV and AIDS (NACOPHA), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Program (ICAP) based at Columbia University.

The survey is expected to reach out to about 20,000 households, meaning at least 40,000 people aged from 15 years and above will be selected randomly to take part in the survey.

Mr Simbachawene urged Tanzanians to participate fully in the survey, saying it will help to boost government’s efforts in the fight against HIV infections as well as acting as the benchmark for effective strategic long term planning in resource allocation, policy formulation and implementation.

He said the THIS 2022-2023 will prevent the government and stakeholders from incurring high cost by conducting two different surveys — assessing HIV infection prevalence and extend to HBV and HCV infections prevalence.

Mr Simbahawene said the findings from the survey will provide in-depth awareness and information concerning HIV infections prevalence from which, the government responsible authorities and stakeholders, citizens in particular, can take quick informed decision toward controlling the infectious disease.

“The findings from this survey will help the public to make right decisions,” he remarked.

He said the government needs to hit the United Nation Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome’s (UNAIDS) 95-95-95 target by 2025.

In December 2020, UNAIDS released a new set of ambitious targets calling for 95 per cent of all people living with HIV to know their HIV status, 95 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection to receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 95 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy to have viral suppression by 2025.

He noted that THIS 2022-2023 survey will involve HIV testing, where by respondents who will be found with HIV positive, will be connected to hospital for treatment in order to continue with daily economic activities.

“Being infected with HIV is not the end of life, getting earlier medical treatment such ARV reduces death risk to people living with infection,” he said.

Speaking during the occasion, US Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Donald Wright noted that Tanzania is among the five top countries with most HIV tests.

He said ‘THIS’ survey was urgent to strength response to HIV epidemic mitigation by creating awareness on communicable and non-communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis B from which individual people can capable of making important decision about their health.

On her part ICAP’s Country Director, Ms Haruka Maruyama said THIS 2022-2023 findings will help the government to allocate enough resource for the most vulnerable age groups so as to secure them from being infected by HIV propelling the way to Tanzania sustainable development in all endeavour.

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