It has been revealed that HIV prevalence among adults aged between 15 and 45 in Tanzania mainland has declined from 7 percent in 2003/04 to 6percent in 2007-08, and 5.1 percent in 2011/12
Chief executive officer of the National Council of People Living with HIV and AIDS PLHIV (NACOPHA), Deogratius Peter Rutatwa, revealed last Thursday, when speaking with ‘The Guardian’ in an exclusive interview.
He said currently there are hundreds of thousands of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV) on life saving antiretroviral therapies (ART), including for preventing HIV transmission from pregnant and breast-feeding mothers to their newborns.
He said by June 2016, a total of 743,773 PLHIVs had been enrolled to ART services, against the enrollment target of 880,681 PLHIV. “It is true that many challenges are still ahead of each one of us but we have good reasons to be optimistic, drawing from what we have already accomplished to date,” he noted.
He, however, said some of the challenges that impede success in controlling the disease to date are related to human behavior.
These may be associated to the continued existence of stigma and discrimination against PLHIV that have impact into limited access to individuals seeking HIV services including HIV counseling and testing, care and treatment, prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) for pregnant women, among others.
Other challenges include practices of violence by men against their female sexual partners who test HIV and disclose their status to them.
Rutatwa further notes that increased sexual abuse and unsafe sexual practices that adolescent and young women experience in their sexual debuts put them at high risk of HIV infection.
Low and inconsistent use of condoms was still highly prevalent among many sexual partners particularly those living in stable relationship, casual partners especially those involved in sex work and same sex.
In communities that embrace traditional practices, there are still cases of inheriting the widows or widowers whose partners died of HIV but do not agree to undergo HIV testing before formalizing their traditions.