At least one million people living with HIV and AIDS in Mozambique are seeking Antiretroviral treatment in the last two years.
This was after the introduction of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR/Emergency Plan).
The announcement was made in Maputo on Monday, 29 January 2019, by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of health (MOH), Zachary Zindoga, at the meeting to celebrate the PEPFAR program in the country.
Zindoga added that on the other hand, the number of health facilities that receive people with HIV and AIDS also increased in the same period.
“There’s a lot that’s changed. The number of people receiving treatment increased three times to one million in the last two years and the (PEPFAR) program allowed the substantial expansion of access to diagnosis and treatment of HIV between 2016 and 2018, during which a total of 4,467 sanitary units began to receive people and start treatment,” he said.
PEPFAR/Emergency Plan is a United States governmental initiative to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and help save the lives of those suffering from the disease, primarily in Africa.
The former Portuguese colony has been hard hit by the AIDS epidemic, with an estimated 1.8 million of its 28 million people infected with HIV.
Only a fraction of those requiring anti-retrovirals are on treatment.
ARVs are drugs that can improve and prolong the lives of tens of thousands of people who suffer severe side effects and resistance to other treatments.
Considering HIV and AIDS a public health problem, the Mozambican Permanent Secretary said that the spread of the disease is affecting the national economy, since most of the infected are people aged between 15 and 49 years.
“Our strategies should be strengthened,” Zindoga said.
For his part, the Chargé d’affaires of the American Embassy in Mozambique, Bryan Hunt, said it’s important to not lose more individuals to HIV and AIDS.
He said that program has been fighting HIV and AIDS in Mozambique and 50 other countries around the world, and helped save the lives of 16 million people.
“A total of $80 billion were invested in the global response to HIV and Aids and people living with HIV should not just start treatment, but also prevent it,” Hunt said.
He added “the new estimates of the prevalence of HIV in the country show an increase to 13,2% among the adult population of 15 to 49 years of age against the previous cipher that was 11,5% according to a study done in 2016.”