THE Zimbabwe HIV and AIDS Activist Union Community Trust ZHAAU-CT is setting up committees led by people living with HIV with the intention of monitoring access to and availability of AIDS services in the country’s heath care centres.
The initiative, which was launched at St Paul’s Msami hospital in Murewa last week, will see the AIDS activists reporting shortages of Anti-Retroviral drugs, cases of stigma and discrimination happening in hospitals as well as monitoring drug adherence among those on treatment.
ZHAAU-CT president Stanley Takaona (HIV positive) at the launch said the initiative was not a witch-hunting exercise.
“This initiative came after realizing that we were now fit and strong as a result of taking up AIDS treatment and we now want to save lives of our colleagues who are living with HIV and those who are not yet aware of their HIV status.
“We know that there might be others who might think that we want to spy on government but this is not the case. We are not spying but trying to assist communities,” he said.
Takaona said they were paying back to the community through giving information about the pandemic to marginalized communities.
“We have achieved and it is now the time for us to stand for others so that they do not die while the drugs are there. The time is over for doing body viewing or burying a person whose life you should have saved .We want ownership of our health and all the health institutions,” he added.
An estimated 1.3 million people are living with HIV with slightly above half of the number being on treatment.
Government is failing to put everyone living with the HIV virus on treatment owing to financial constraints but has however managed to switch all the patients from the old three tablets per day to the new one pill per day regiment.
That was after it had realized that the previous treatment was having severe side effects on patients.