Zimbabweans joined the international community Tuesday in marking World Aids Day, focusing on making life-saving antiretroviral drugs available to all who need them.
The National Aids Council joined teamed up with non-governmental organizations fighting HIV/AIDS, the Ministry of Health and others to mark the day in Victoria Falls under the banner of “universal access and human rights.”
Youths presented art work about AIDS and its impact, while officials rolled out a national program aimed at getting more of the affected population onto ARV drug therapy.
National Aids Council Operations Manager Raymond Yekeye told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that Zimbabwe used the Victoria Falls gathering to focus on challenges still facing the country and plan future initiatives with the US$180 million recently disbursed by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Representing those living with HIV/AIDS, Martha Tholana of the Network of Zimbabwean Positive Women and the International Network of Women Living with HIV said things are better since a government of national unity was formed in February, but quickly added that most people living with HIV still suffer whether they are on ARVs or not.
The Southern African regional anti-AIDS organization Safaids said greater effort is required to sustain momentum in Zimbabwe in the battle against the disease, but Regional Communications Director Tariro Chikumbirike told VOA that she saw progress in recent months.