Saturday, September 18, 2021

US launches $78 million dollar anti-HIV projects


…sex workers to receive
greater HIV prevention support  


The United States President’s
Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) through the US Agency for International
Development (USAID) has announced the launch of two new projects worth a combined
US$78 million to provide critical HIV healthcare services for over half a
million Zimbabweans.

The two projects, which
were announced by USAID Zimbabwe mission director Art Brown on November 03,
affirm commitment by the US to improved healthcare in the country through increased
financial support for the sector.

“The United States is
proud to stand with the people of Zimbabwe to address HIV. Together with our
partners, USAID is ensuring that people living with HIV can start treatment
early, adhere to treatment, reach viral load suppression, and live longer,
healthier lives.

“We are also working to
reach 95 percent of the estimated 40,000 female sex workers in Zimbabwe to help
reduce HIV infections, provide onsite initiation of anti-retroviral therapy
(ART), and transfer clients to public sector facilities,” Brown said in a

 Under the programs, USAID will for the next
five years work with the Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development
(OPHID) to provide care and treatment services for more than half a million
people living with HIV at 700 health facilities in 24 districts.

It was announced that OPHID
will expand client-centered services in facilities and communities and train
more than 12,000 healthcare workers on innovative models to increase testing,
ART initiation and adherence, and viral load testing.

USAID and OPHID will
support the development of national level policy, strategy, and healthcare
guidelines, which the Ministry of Health and Child Care will cascade to the
whole country.

Through a one-year
program, USAID and the Center for Sexual Health, HIV and AIDS Research
(CeSHHAR) will help close the remaining gaps in HIV prevention and care for sex
workers in the five hotspot districts of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, and

Zimbabwe’s border posts
with Mozambique, Botswana, and Zambia will also be covered.

Working directly with
female sex workers, USAID will reduce new HIV infections through increasing the
use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), condoms as well as other emerging
prevention technologies.

US Ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols said the new programs will go a long way in helping
Zimbabwe meet its HIV and Aids prevention and treatment targets.

 “PEPFAR’s efforts to fight HIV will ultimately
help Zimbabwe meet critical AIDS treatment targets.  Our support breaks barriers and closes
remaining gaps in sustaining and accelerating HIV prevention and care,” Nichols. 

 Since PEPFAR’s support
for Zimbabwe began in 2006, more than US$1.2 billion has been channeled to HIV
and Aids prevention and treatment, leading to an 80 percent decline in the
annual number of HIV-related deaths.

Over one million Zimbabweans
who are HIV positive are accessing free-of-charge antiretroviral medicines
(ARVs) courtesy of PEPFAR.



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