Saturday, December 2, 2017

Tanzania records a slight drop of HIV infections

As Tanzania joined other nations in the world to mark the World AIDS Day which is an annual celebrations that is marked on 1st December, a new report has revealed that the country has recorded a slight drop on HIV/ AIDS infection rate in the past five years. Speaking during the launch of the Tanzania HIV/AIDS Indicator Survey 2016/2017 in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Vice- President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, said that the government has made strides in fighting against the epidemic. Ms Hassan said according to the findings, HIV/AIDS infection rate in the country has dropped from 5.1 per cent in 2011/2012 to 4.7 per cent in 2016/2017. She said according to the survey, it is estimated that 1.4 million Tanzanians are living with HIV/AIDS, with female infection rate standing at 6.5 per cent while for males is 3.5 per cent. The VP insisted that the decline on infection rate does not mean that HIV/ AIDS has been stamped out, but that it is the result of efforts undertaken by the government in collaboration with other stakeholders, including citizens in taking preventive measures against new infections. “The study which we are launching today has shown a decline on HIV/AIDS infection rate from 5.1 per cent in 2011/2012 to 4.7 per cent in 2016/2017. This is the result of joint efforts between the government, citizens and different stakeholders who have concentrated on creating public awareness and services on HIV/AIDS issues,” she said. Ms Hassan, however, called upon the citizens and other stakeholders to continue supporting the government in preventing new infections and voluntarily contribute to the National HIV/ AIDS Fund to enable the government provide better services. Briefing about the survey, the National Bureau of Statistics Director General, Dr Albina Chuwa, said that it was the fourth to be done in the country and that the first one was conducted in 2003/04, which indicated that infection rate was 7.0 per cent followed by other studies of 2007/08 and 2011/12 which showed the infection rate of 5.1 per cent. Dr Chuwa explained that the 2016/17 survey has been different because it has given estimates of the infection rate to all age groups and new infections among others. She said the survey involved 16,198 households and cost 7.4bn/- which was provided by the US government under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief - (PEPFAR). Dr Chuwa mentioned the regions whose infection rate is more than 10 per cent as Iringa (11.3) and Njombe (11.4), while all regions in Zanzibar recording less than one per cent infection rate.

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