New HIV infections among adolescents worry government

Government is not happy with the 42 percent of HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women.

Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo says the overall number of new HIV infections in the year 2021 has reduced to 38,000 in which 47 percent are the young people from the ages of 15 to 24 years which creates public concern.

Ms. Masebo was speaking in a speech read on her behalf by the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Lackson Kasonka at the Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC) and National AIDS Council Stakeholders Consultative Dialogue Meeting in Lusaka today.

Ms. Masebo said 14,611 new infections of HIV among young people is way too many.

She said there is need to raise awareness on preventive measures specifically to the people at risk such as adolescents and other priority populations as well as marginalizing populations so as not to leave anyone behind.

Ms. Masebo noted that this will give thrust to accelerate the reduction of new HIV infections from 38,000, adding that it will also give thrust towards decreasing the HIV prevalence from 11 percent to a single digit.

She said the Ministry’s HIV prevention focus lies in primary prevention such as abstinence and condom use, HIV testing, Elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV. Syphilis and viral Hepatitis, expanding knowledge and access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and reducing Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) among others.

And Phakama Africa Executive Director, Mwenya Chiti said adolescent girls and young people would like to see HIV prevention messages moves from the hospital to the local community where infections are happening.

 Ms. Chiti has further called on the government to roll out the new HIV prevention options such as the ring.

Meanwhile, Network of Zambian People Living with HIV and AIDS (NZP+) Executive Director, Fred Chungu commended the government for the efforts it is making in the fight against HIV and AIDS.