Tanzania: State Introduces Shielding Pills for HIV High Risk Groups

PEOPLE at high risk of contracting HIV will be protected against the infections under the government plans to supply the risky groups with preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) effective next month.

PrEP is an arrangement of shielding people who have tested HIV negative but are at high risk of contracting the deadly infection through taking a daily pill.

According to the National Aids Control Programme (NACP), the pills will be given to peopleat high risk, following a research by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.

NACP Programme Officer Dr Zeye Masunga, detailing government strategies to control HIV prevalence in the country, said: “The ministry has moved from research to service… we are going to start provision of the pre-exposure prophylaxis in November.”

The move is part of execution of the Southern African Development Community(SADC) protocol on HIV and Aids.

Prior to PrEP supply, the health service providers will be trained on the best provision of the pills to the risky groups-sex workers and drug abusers, in particular, Dr Masunga told a media workshop in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday ahead of SADC four-day ministerial meeting on HIV and Aids.

He further said plans were underway to start offering antiretroviral (ARV) drug packages to HIV infected people for three or six-month usage instead of the daily doses.

“Normally, HIV victims were required to attend hospitals daily for the ARVs but they will now get the three-month package if they meetcriteria,” said Dr Masunga.

Earlier, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu told reporters that Tanzania has so far made great achievements in controlling HIV in response to the SADC protocols and declarations.

She said the country’s HIV prevalence rate has declined from seven per cent in 2003 to the current 4.7 per cent and efforts are underway to attain the 90-90-90 global targets.

The targets aim at diagnosing 90 per cent of all HIV-positive persons, providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) to 90 per cent of the diagnosed and achieving viral suppression for 90 per cent of those treated by 2020.

Article nine of the SADC Health Protocol dwells on communicable disease control and articles 10 through 12 look specifically at HIV and AIDS, malaria and TB.

The protocol wants SADC member states to cooperate in harmonising and where appropriate standardising policies in disease definitions, notification systems, treatment and management of major communicable diseases.

One of the greatest challenges facing SADC member states as they move towards greater integration is the adverse effects of HIV and AIDS on social, political and economic development.

The region has the highest levels of HIV prevalence globally. Many countries are now grappling with the severe impact of mature HIV and AIDS epidemics and the related epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) that are reversing the hard-won development gains of the past few years.

SADC region remains the area most affected by HIV epidemic. According to the UNAIDS 2010 Global Report, 34 per cent of all people living with HIV worldwide in 2009 resided in ten SADC countries.

The regional bloc attributes the wide spread of HIV to, among others, extreme poverty and income inequalities, high mobility and migrant labour between rural and urban areas, within countries and between member states, alcohol abuse and multiple sexual partners.


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Publish date : 2019-10-31 12:38:37

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