TZ optimistic on meeting UNAIDS targets on HIV

AS of last July, 88 per cent of people living with HIV were already under treatment, increasing from 61 per cent recorded in 2017, a situation which the government described as a positive trend towards achieving the UNAIDS 95-95-95 benchmarks.

The 95-95-95 targets of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) aim to diagnose 95 per cent of all HIV-positive individuals, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 95 per cent of those diagnosed and achieve viral suppression for 95 per cent of those treated by 2030.

July statistics indicate that 1.5 million people are currently on HIV treatment out of the estimated 1.7 million people living with HIV in the country, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Prof Abel Makubi, said yesterday in his speech read by Dar es Salaam Regional Medical Officer (RMO) Dr Rashid Mfaume.

Dr Mfaume represented Prof Makubi at the official opening of the symposium for dissemination of research findings towards epidemiccontrol, specifically HIV prevention and treatment during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The forum was organized by the Management and Development for Health (MDH) with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Tanzania has made significant strides on progress towards HIV epidemic control by 2030,” Prof Makubi stated.

He attributed the successes to successful nationwide scale-up of targeted HIV testing services, including the recent roll-out of HIV self-testing services, scale-up of differentiated service delivery models, optimizing anti-retroviral treatment regimens as well as improved access to timely viral load.

He further said as of July 2022, in line with the UNAIDS 95-95-95 benchmarks, 90 per cent of the HIV-infected people were aware of their status, 99 per cent of those aware of their HIV status were on treatment and 96 per cent of those on treatment were virally suppressed.

Over the years, Tanzania has done very well to improve access and uptake of HIV testing, prevention and treatment services among pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children.

Assessment report on prevalence and patterns of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) among pregnant women living with HIV in Tanzania has found out that Acquired Drug Resistance (ADR) was high among pregnant women who were already on HIV treatment (79.2 per cent) compared to pre-treatment drug resistance among pregnant women who were newly diagnosed with HIV (27.5 per cent).

The study also revealed that adolescent mothers, late care seekers and women with advanced HIV remain vulnerable to poor HIV treatment outcomes.

The findings also highlight the need for and opportunities to strengthen male involvement and peer mother engagement to further improve outcomes of lifelong HIV in routine healthcare.

Earlier, Chief Executive Officer of the MDH, Dr David Sando said a lot has been achieved through the government’s efforts in controlling the epidemic, particularly HIV, but still more has to be done to achieve the 2030 targets.

Dr Sango said the symposium was important to share experiences and come up with a way forward to improve the healthcare system.

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