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U.S Pledges $95 Million For HIV/AIDS Prevention

Winners of the Auxillia Chimusoro Alumni Awards were honored Thursday night with American ambassador Bruce Wharton pledging the United States government’s more than $95 million to support Zimbabwe’s national HIV/AIDS response.

Ambassador Wharton said the money will come from the U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR, to support critical health interventions meant to prevent more HIV infections.

Since 2005, the U.S government has invested about $400 million in Zimbabwe towards the country’s HIV/AIDS response.

This year’s Auxillia Chimusoro competition was won by AfricaAid, a local non-government organization, which received a $5,000 grant.

The grant will support young people living with HIV or AIDS who will produce a musical DVD aimed at raising awareness of HIV/AIDS.

AfricaAid director, Nicola Willis, said discussions are under way to involve national icons to assist young people in producing the DVD.
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Ambassador Wharton who was instrumental in launching the Auxilllia Chimusoro Award when he was the embassy’s public affairs officer 12 years ago, said he was happy that the award has become a part of Zimbabwe’s national AIDS response.

The U.S mission launched the Auxillia Chimusoro Award in 1989 to help de-stigmatize HIV/AIDS and to commemorate the legacy of Auxillia Chimusoro, the first Zimbabwean woman to publicly disclose her positive HIV/AIDS status in 1989.

A representative of the Chimusoro family commended the U.S mission, the government of Zimbabwe and partners for honoring Auxillia.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence in the country is now below 16 percent, the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa.