Zimbabwe In Line To Reach Antiretroviral Treatment Target

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Antiretroviral Drugs

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Zimbabwe could meet its target of providing 140,000 HIV-positive peoplewith access to no-cost antiretroviral drugs by the end of the year,Owen Mugurungi, head of the Zimbabwean government's HIV/AIDS unit, saidon Tuesday at a two-day workshop on drug access issues in the country,the Herald/AllAfrica.com reports (Herald/AllAfrica.com, 10/26).

Thecountry's efforts to increase access to antiretrovirals have beendelayed by a shortage of foreign currency, which has increased povertylevels and raised inflation by 3,700%. More than 3,000 people die ofAIDS-related illnesses weekly in the country, and 70% of hospitaladmissions in Zimbabwe are HIV/AIDS-related. According to ZimbabweHealth and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa, at least 300,000people living with HIV/AIDS in the country are in need ofantiretrovirals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report,9/12). According to Mugurungi, about 90,000 HIV-positive people haveaccess to no-cost antiretrovirals under the government's treatmentprogram.

"More than 80% of our target population" already hasantiretroviral access, and if the country doubles its "efforts in thenext two months, that means [Zimbabwe] might surpass" the 140,000target, Mugurungi said. The country is among other African nations thatbelieve a 100% universal access to antiretrovirals is unrealistic,Mugurungi said, adding that Zimbabwe instead aims to provide 75% ofHIV-positive people with treatment access. Raymond Yekeye, operationsdirector for the National AIDS Council, agreed and said that Zimbabwenow is looking to fulfill district-level treatment targets(Herald/AllAfrica.com, 10/26).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser FamilyFoundation.

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