Tanzania has not made any notable progress in her fight against HIV/Aids with the worst plagued regions showing no sign of remission.
This greatly contradicts the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (Tacaids) report released in December last year that showed a decrease in new transmission cases from 150,000 to 69,000 people per year.
The troubling news was conveyed yesterday in Dar es Salaam by Research and Evaluation Director at Tacaids Dr Jerome Kamwela.
According to him, Njombe, Iringa and Mbeya regions, the worst hit in the country are still the most affected and drug abusers, sex workers and homosexuals remain the most susceptible groups.
Speaking during yesterday’s commemoration of the World Aids Day Dr Kamwela, said the average HIV/Aids transmission rate among sex workers remains at a high 26 per cent, homosexuals 22.2 per cent and drug abusers 15 per cent.
“Overall findings on HIV/Aids show the national average transmission also remains at 5.1 per cent with women being the most affected at 6 per cent compared to men’s 4 per cent,” he said noting that the most affected age groups are 15 to 49 years.
He went on to note that the Southern highland regions remain the most afflicted area with Njombe taking the lead with 15.7 per cent, Iringa 9.1 per cent and Mbeya 9.0 per cent.
Dr Kamwela called upon stakeholders to support government efforts to curb the spread of the disease with special focus on the hard hit regions and groups.
He prioritised the need for education for people living with the virus on the importance of not spreading it and improving their access to health services.
On her part, TACAIDS Executive Chairperson Dr Fatma Mrisho said the commemorations will close on December 1 in Singida Region and will feature launch of the newly introduced Tanzania Aids Trust Fund and the centre for HIV/Aids fight worth 106 million/- donated by the Geita Gold Mine (GGM).
She said voluntary testing will also take place and that over 3,000 people are expected to be reached at the event.
“The exercise will also be carried out in other regions throughout the commemoration week,” she said and noted that a key message from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by the UN-Country Director will be read.
“There will also be a big meeting with various HIV/Aids stakeholders from December 29 to 30 that will among other things discuss realisation of the Three Zeros and the 90s initiative.
Three Zero is an initiative introduced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that seeks to see zero HIV/Aids new transmissions, zero HIV/Aids related deaths as well as zero discrimination against people living with HIV/Aids by 2030.
The 90s initiative demands 90 per cent of victims be aware of their health status, 90 per cent of the affected persons to start treatment using antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs and 90 per cent of ARVs to function well- effectively suppressing the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV illness.