Zimbabwe is part of 10 African countries that will receive assistance from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), a few days after the United Nations adopted the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include ending the AIDS epidemic in 15 years.
In a statement, the joint United Nations Programme on HIV AIDS (UNAIDS) welcomed the development.
“The United States of America’s continued commitment will be a stepping stone towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the sustainable development goals,” said Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS. “Under the bold leadership of President Obama, these generous investments are and will continue to save millions of lives.”
PEPFAR has set specific targets for preventing new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women aged 15 to 24. The targets also include ensuring access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapy for 12.9 million children, pregnant women and adults by the end of 2017.
The statement further says as well as expanding access to HIV treatment, PEPFAR’s newly announced targets aim to reduce HIV among adolescent girls and young women by 40% by the end of 2017 in PEPFAR focus areas across 10 countries - Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
These 10 countries accounted for nearly half of all new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 2014.
The commitments also include the provision to cumulatively reach up to 13 million men with voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention by the end of 2017.