LUSAKA. — Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Monday called for the involvement of young people in the fight against HIV and Aids as the disease presented a threat to the country’s future development.
Speaking during the commemoration of the World AIDS Day which was pushed to December 11 in Lusaka, the country’s capital, the Zambian leader attributed the rise in new HIV infection among young people to low intake of prevention interventions such as testing services, poor adherence to treatment as well as alcohol and substance abuse.
While commending efforts made in reaching older generations in HIV prevention, the Zambian leader said only half of the young population has been reached. He has since directed the Ministry of Health to embark on “Know Your Status” programme for children and young people in order to raise awareness on the disease.
The Zambian leader added that the commemoration, which was held under the local theme “Eliminating HIV By 2030 Starts With Me” presents an opportunity for everyone person to be involved in the fight by knowing their HIV status.
According to him, the theme was a reminder not to leave anyone behind in the fight against the disease. The government, he said, has since constituted a multi-diverse HIV/Aids Coalition, which will oversee the national agenda on HIV and Aids. The Zambian leader commended efforts made so far in fighting the disease although he said more still needed to be done.
Zambia is one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa with high HIV prevalence rate, with figures showing that 1,2 million people were living with HIV as of December last year, with 900 000 of them on anti-retroviral therapy.
During the event, President Lungu honoured the country’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda with a lifetime achievement award over his work in the crusade against HIV and Aids.
President Lungu said Dr Kaunda has been active in the fight against HIV and Aids since 1986 when he publicly announced that one of his sons had died of AIDS. He also played a vital role in the HIV and Aids fight since retiring from active politics through his Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation. — Xinhua.