By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
THE National Aids Council (NAC) has launched the theme and official logo for this year’s World Aids Day commemorations to be held in Chinhoyi on December 1.
The 2021-2022 theme is ‘End Pandemics, End Inequalities, End AIDS’, while a circular emblem of the globe and red ribbon form the logo signifying a united global fight to eradicate the disease.
Officially launching the theme and logo in the host town Friday, Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka reiterated the need to upscale access to HIV diagnosis and treatment.
“We need to increase efforts on treatment of HIV whilst working towards the elimination of new infections by the year 2030, and at the same time ensure enhanced commitment towards interventions to combat non-communicable diseases and pandemics such as Covid-19,” Mliswa-Chikoka said.
She added: “We are greatly honoured to host the 2021 World Aids Day commemorations. This is an opportunity to introspect on gaps and inequalities hindering access to health services. It calls for integrated efforts and we must leave noone behind in closing the gap. Key populations like sex workers, artisanal miners, cross border traders, fishermen, all should be taken on board as we commit to community-led interventions.”
She implored various stakeholders to spread the gospel to end AIDS by 2030, saying: “We must be crusaders of information on HIV and seek treatment to live long, normal and healthy lives. There is need to do away with stigma. All of us are expected to be involved in this fight. HIV testing must be intensified. People must know their status as this is key to accessing treatment and have their viral load checked.”
She reiterated the need to strengthen multi-sectoral synergies in planning this year’s event to be held at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT).
NAC provincial manager, David Nyamurera challenged stakeholders to curb the prevalence of gender-based violence, child marriages, and school dropouts which are drivers of the spread of HIV.
Apostolic church prophets who dissuade members from taking their antiretroviral (ARV) treatment need to be engaged to stop the practice, Nyamurera added.
He highlighted some entrenched social norms or perceptions of yesteryear must be erased to promote adolescent boys and girls to live decent and responsible lives.
“Let’s put more energy to craft ways to find community led HIV responses,” he said.
This will be the second year the national event will held under Covid-19 pandemic conditions.