On 1 December 2022, Ciheb-Zambia joined national and international leaders in the capital of Lusaka to observe World AIDS Day 2022 and in remembrance of those we have lost to HIV/AIDS. The day started with a spirited parade in solidary with this year’s theme, “Equalize! Closing the gaps,” in the streets outside the Mulungushi Conference Center.
The day’s momentum continued inside the venue with informative exhibitions and inspirational speakers. Ciheb-Zambia’s two displays at the convention center were visited by the general public and special guests for inquiries about ZAMPHIA and to receive the summary sheet and other materials.
The report is years of work showing benchmark progress towards the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets of ensuring that 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of people who know their status are accessing treatment, and 90 percent of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads across all ages, sexes, and at-risk groups.
“With over 1.3 million people living with HIV, Zambia remains one of the countries globally that have been hard hit by the HIV epidemic." Said the Republic of Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema. "ZAMPHIA 2021 results released by my Minister of Health are indeed a testament to the extraordinary results that are possible when we all work together."
Guest speakers reiterated the need for world leaders and citizens to boldly acknowledge and address the inequalities that impede efforts to end AIDS and equalize access to vital HIV services.
"To end HIV, we must stop new infections and ensure that everyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation, can access prevention services without fear of stigma, discrimination, or bias," said U.S. Ambassador Michael C. Gonzales. "This means the barriers created by actions, attitudes, and/or biases toward those protecting themselves and their partners must end. We cannot achieve our goal to end HIV/AIDS as a global health threat if we deny people's human rights or sexual and reproductive rights."
The stigma must be broken; no one should be discriminated against based on their test results or social status. Ninety-six percent living with HIV on treatment compared to 2016’s 59 percent is a phenomenal achievement, but work still needs to be done. With prevention efforts intensified by the Ministry of Health, government, and partners, Zambia is on track to eradicate the disease by 2030.