If you reside in this African nation HIV/AIDS testing is now mandatory
The new policy measure is in response to the government’s HIV agenda of eradicating the virus by 2030.
HIV Testing, Counselling and Treatment has been made compulsory in Zambia beginning August 16th in all government-run health facilities, President Edgar Lungu has announced.
President Lungu made the announcement at the inaugural HIV Testing Counselling and Treatment Day commemoration under the theme “Test and Treat: Towards Ending AIDS” held at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka.
“I must admit that there were some colleagues who felt that this policy would infringe on human rights, but then no one has the right take away somebody’s life,” the President stated.
The controversial policy, however, goes contrary to the global standards and guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) and UNAID that favors voluntary counselling and testing rather than mandatory testing.
“Just the same way we don’t consult you for consent when we are testing for Malaria, we will go ahead and test you for HIV and we will counsel you and if you are positive, we will commence you on treatment,” he added.
Mr. Lungu later took to twitter where he said the new policy measure is in response to the government’s HIV agenda of eradicating the virus by 2030.
By 2015, around 1.2 million people in Zambia were living with HIV according to Avert organisation.
Despite many huge milestones achieved in combating HIV/AIDS, there still exists a lot of HIV/AIDS Stigma especially in most Sub-Saharan Africa, forcing many people to conceal and even deny their status, endangering their lives and others in the process.
That fear, however, did not hold back one Saidy Brown, a 22-year-old lady from South Africa who early this year ‘shocked and inspired’ the world in equal measure after she disclosed her HIV/Status to all and sundry through a tweet.
Mandatory HIV/AIDS tests are not however something new in Africa.
In 2013, Uganda also introduced mandatory HIV testing under a new plan to increase access to HIV prevention and treatment.
Globaly in countries like Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland where prostitution is legal, sex workers must undergo weekly check-ups ranging from HIV/AIDS tests to STIs test to make sure they are clean before they can be allowed to operate their services.
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