The Zimbabwe government has been called upon to urgently come up with a budget for antiretroviral drugs, which are expected to run out of stock by September.
Addressing people living with HIV and Aids and religious leaders in Harare yesterday, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care chairperson, Ruth Labode said the nation did not have a budget for ARVs, but relied on donations from the United Nations and other organisations, which were also facing challenges
As more people are getting tested, the number of people supposed to be put on drugs is increasing, but the money is not adequate to meet our requirements,” she said.
Labode said drugs that were available could only sustain the country until September.
“Unless we, as government, decide to cover that gap with our own money, we might actually reach a stage where we might have to choose to prioritise certain groups,” she said.
Church leaders, Labode said, who declared people healed through miracles, should also encourage their congregants to get tested, so this can be verified by qualified medical personnel.
Some people living with HIV and Aids said church leaders were discouraging people from taking medication.
National Aids Council (NAC) co-ordinator for behaviour change, Silibile Mpofu, said a survey by the organisation revealed that 65% of people living with HIV and Aids have experienced stigma, with 10% of them excluded from church activities.
Mpofu also said 54% of new infections were from heterosexuals, while 11,3% are married and cohabiting couples, 4,5% from sex workers and 6,7% discordant couples.
In 2014, the UN Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids) announced ambitious new global targets called the 90-90-90.
“This means that 90% of people living with HIV and Aids should have been tested and 90% getting treated, with 90% of them achieving viral suppression by 2020,” Tendai Nori Maradzire, from UNAids Zimbabwe, said.