Amanda Ncube, Sunday News Reporter
UNIVERSAL Church of Kingdom God (UCKG) in collaboration with the Stop Suffering Help Centre yesterday offered free health checkups and HIV testing as part of World Aids Day commemorations in Bulawayo.
Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Martin Moyo said it was a noble cause in the fight against HIV.
“This is a special day for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and Aids and remember those who have succumbed to the disease,” he said.
He said residents have to stand together in solidarity and reflect on the progress made so far in the fight against HIV and Aids and its impact on individuals, families and communities.
Clr Moyo said it was good to advocate for the strengthening of HIV prevention strategies which include HIV testing and counselling, voluntary medical male circumcision, prevention of mother to child transmission, zero discrimination, no violence and condom use among others.
He said: “National Aids Council, Ministry of Health and Child Care and partners launched the start free and Aids free campaign that is aimed at ensuring that no child will be born with HIV. HIV negative people should remain negative and those infected should access early treatment and live positively.”
According to Zimbabwe Population based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA) and Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS), Zimbabwe is making great strides in the fight against HIV and Aids.
The incidences of new infections among 15-49 years old has been reduced from 0,88 percent to 0,48 percent,” he said.
“This means that the number of new infections has reduced from almost nine to five in every thousand adult per year. This has been considered as a great improvement for the nation which we need to be maintain.”
The Mayor also applauded district stakeholders as well as the Universal Church of Kingdom of God for the tremendous progress in responding to HIV and Aids over the years, particularly the decline of both the incidence and prevalence of HIV over the years.
Speaking at the same ceremony, Bishop Justice Colidiza said they were happy as a UCKG to partake in the fight against HIV and Aids.
“We are happy as the church to play a part in the fight against HIV and Aids. We hope this will not only help the members of our congregations but also everyone in the community,” he said.
This year’s World Aids Day ran under the theme: “Closing the tap of new HIV infections”.