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Zambia Struggling To Identify AIDS Sufferers

Zambia's National AIDS Council (NAC) program Director Alex Simwanza has called on people to get into the Voluntary Counseling and Testing //(VCT) if they had to combat HIV/AIDS in the country.

"Currently, statistics show that despite our high sustained prevalence levels HIV infection which is 16 percent, only 1.5 million of our (10 million) population have been tested, which is too low," Simwanza told The Post.. "It is important that more people go for VCT and know their status so that whichever side they find themselves on, they will be able to take precautionary measures."

He added that knowledge was power in the fight against AIDS. If people knew their status then they could get prompt treatment, which could increase their survival. "Testing and counseling play a critical role in HIV prevention by helping people to cope with the disease and avoid infecting others," he said.

Fear that they would be discriminated against had prevented people from testing themselves. But then treatment options available meant that testing had become almost mandatory. "The availability of treatment has generated hope because of an underlining close linkage between testing, treatment and prevention," Simwanza said.


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