Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
Government has launched a treatment manual aimed at equipping communities involved in the HIV response with knowledge on medicines, nutrition and positive living.
Officially launching the manual whose development was spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Network of People Living with HIV in Harare yesterday, acting Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Mr Douglas Mangwanya said treatment literacy was aimed at helping communities understand thea importance of ARVs, what they can do and what they cannot do.
“People taking anti-retroviral medicines and their supporters need to understand new and complex ideas around medicines, side effects, nutrition and positive living,” he said.
Mr Mangwanya said effective treatment literacy can lead to improved health outcomes, better adherence to treatment, retention in care and higher uptake of voluntary counselling and testing.
“This is more important as the country is going through a process of adapting the 2015 WHO Guidelines, which include the test and treat approach, new strategies for HIV testing services and other prevention strategies,” he said.
The manual focuses on key aspects of HIV testing, counselling, prevention and treatment.
It offers basic information on treatment and support including prevention and treatment of Tuberculosis. Mr Mangwanya said the manual can be used by community based organisations, trainers, support groups and patients.
“A critical aspect covered in the manual is positive health, dignity and prevention,” he said.
He urged all stakeholders to make use of the manual to ensure that all people living with HIV adhere to their treatment.
Speaking at the same occasions UNAIDS executive director Mr Michael Bartos said the treatment literacy manual was relevant in achieving the 90-90-90 targets.
These targets ensure that at least 90 percent of people living with HIV are tested, put on treatment and have their viral load suppressed. Mr Bartos said the manual therefore encourages people living with HIV to adhere to treatment, hence have their viral load suppressed.
Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV executive director Mr Dagobet Mureriwa said for HIV interventions to be successful, communities should take the lead.
HIV remains a public health threat in Zimbabwe with an estimated 1, 2 million people living with the condition.
Of those living with HIV, an estimated 800 000 are on treatment.