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Zimbabwe Government Proposes Two-Thirds Increase in ARV Treatment for HIV/AIDS

Health Minister Henry Madzorera said the government aims to put another 120,000 people in antiretroviral drug therapy this year, taking the number receiving the life-extending treatment to 300,000

The government of Zimbabwe is aiming to increase the number of people on antiretroviral drug therapy for HI/AIDS to 300,000 this year from 180,000 at present, Health Minister Henry Madzorera told VOA onWednesday.

He confirmed news reports that the addition of 120,000 people to treatment rolls will be accomplished with funds from this year’s budget and international donors. The United States government has pledged US$46 million this year to help Zimbabwe fight the longrunning HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Madzorera says one objective is to ensure that no one has to travel more than eight kilometers to access an antiretroviral drug therapy program.

About 3,000 people die of AIDS-related illnesses each week in Zimbabwe.

National Aids Council Operations Director Raymond Yekeye hailed the plan to expand the country's ARV treatment rolls by two-thirds.

Elsewhere, the National Aids Council gave the Ministry of Health US$ 1.8 million worth of ARVs which will benefit 40,000 people, and 9,000 HIV test kits from the Aids Health Care Foundation. The drugs were bought with funds raised through the National Aids Trust Fund levy on salaries.