By KASONDE KASONDE -
GOVERNMENT has embarked on a strong plan to scale up access to Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) therapy for both children and adults to enhance prevention and reduce new infections.
Lusaka Province medical officer, Kennedy Malama said the treatment for HIV/AIDS is prevention, as adherence to the treatment reduces the viral load in the blood and transmission of the virus to a sexual partner.
Dr Malama said the Government was taking treatment as prevention and enhanced the supply of ARVS in the country, as adherence to treatment reduced the viral load in the bloodstream.
“Treatment for HIV/AIDS is also by prevention, the explanation is that adherence to treatment reduces the viral load such that the virus cannot be detected and transmission from one sexual partner to another also reduces, hence the scaling up of ARVS in the country,” Dr Malama said.
He said there was need for the public to ensure that they protected themselves from the virus through abstinence, correct use of condoms, and being faithful to their sexual partners.
Dr Malama also said currently, there were 15,000 children on ARV therapy in Lusaka Province alone, while adults were more than 160,000.
He said the 15,000 represented eight per cent of the people on therapy in the province, which was unfortunately very low and the medical office was coming up with measures to increase the number of children to at least 20 per cent or closer to that of adults.
Dr Malama said HIV/AIDS in children was very aggressive and unpredictable, hence the need to ensure that more children who were infected were put on the ARV therapy as quickly as possible.
“The HIV/AIDS virus is very aggressive in children and at times unpredictable, that is why it is important that all children who are living with the virus are put on ARVS as soon as possible because children are more vulnerable to the symptoms of the disease,” Dr Malama said.