Provider-Initiated HIV Testing Programs Increasing Number Of Pregnant Women Seeking Testing

Armen Hareyan's picture

Anincreasing number of women in Zimbabweare receiving HIV tests and counseling as a result of the country'sprovider-initiated testing and counseling programs, Minister of Health andChild Welfare David Parirenyatwa said recently, The Herald reports.

About 541,000 pregnant women as of September 2007 have received HIV counselingthrough the country's Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission program,Parirenyatwa said, adding that more than 432,000 of the women were screened forHIV. He said that nearly 38,000 women and their infants received nevirapineprophylaxis as a result of the provider-initiated approach. According toParirenyatwa, the national PMTCT program, which started as a pilot project in1999, has expanded to reach all the 1,560 public health facilities that offerprenatal care in the country. Health practitioners offer HIV testing topregnant women, but the women have the right to opt out of testing.

"We must applaud the service providers for contributing significantly tothis important milestone," he said. Parirenyatwa also called on healthofficials to encourage families to learn about the PMTCT program. "Weshould commit ourselves to the success of the program to enable people to knowtheir status in order to take appropriate and positive action to relieve thepain and suffering that comes with" HIV/AIDS, Parirenyatwa said. He addedthat collaboration from several groups has helped make positive achievementsand improvements in the services offered by the programs (The Herald,1/18).

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