WHO, UNAIDS hail Zambia's mandatory HIV testing decision

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-18 21:43:28|Editor: ying
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LUSAKA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Friday commended the Zambian government for its commitment to raise HIV testing awareness by making such tests mandatory.

The Zambian government has announced mandatory HIV testing for people who visit any health facility as a way to enhance the fight against the pandemic.

In a joint statement, the two organizations welcomed the government's call to reinforce the implementation of universal routine HIV testing in line with universal guidelines.

"In this regard, WHO and UNAIDS will continue to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to provide technical support and guidance in the review and dissemination of HIV testing services protocols and standard operating procedures to ensure that they are in line with the global recommendations of human rights-based approaches," the statement said.

According to the two organizations, the decision was welcome as knowing HIV status will lead to universal access to antiretroviral therapy and suppression of the virus in line with the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by 2020 and achieve the overall goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

The two organizations expressed concern that of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in Zambia, only 67 percent know their status, adding that this calls for intensive, innovative and effective HIV testing strategies that were in line with WHO and UNAIDS global guidance.