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HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe

The importance of HIV testing

A woman holds her baby

Early diagnosis of HIV brings tremendous benefits to the people living in Plan communities. For those who are HIV positive, it means starting treatment earlier, which results in better long-term health and the ability to continue working and enjoying family life. And it enables people to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including mother-to-child transmission.

But in many of the communities where Plan works, low awareness, a lack of testing facilities and fear of discrimination present big barriers to getting tested.

So Plan establishes testing sites, and engages peer educators and mobile health workers to raise awareness of HIV and how to prevent it. We also provide training for staff, health workers and government about how to meet the needs of those who are most at risk for contracting HIV as well as people who are living with HIV.

We also ensure that every person who is tested receives counseling.

“If the test is negative, we provide counseling on ways to prevent HIV,” explains Plan HIV and AIDS expert Munir Ahmed.

“If it’s positive, the first priority is to provide emotional support,” he adds. “After that, we can address health concerns, and discuss testing partners and how to prevent transmission of the virus to other family members. We also help facilitate access to income-generating activities and other vital services.”

Thanks to you, thousands of people are getting the support they need.

HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe

The impact of HIV and AIDS on families in Zimbabwe is enormous, falling disproportionately on those who live in poverty – particularly women and children.

Though progress has been made in addressing Zimbabwe’s HIV epidemic, the prevalence of the disease and the country’s poor socio-economic conditions make it an ongoing challenge.

There are nearly a million and a half people estimated to be living with HIV in Zimbabwe, and that includes 14% of those between the ages of 15-49. Indeed, one of the most devastating aspects of this disease is that it strikes people in their prime. When parents are sick, it makes life very difficult for children.

In the rural communities where we work, households headed by sick parents (or orphaned children) experience a sharp decline in agricultural productivity, which reduces incomes and food security and makes it hard for families to meet their basic household requirements. Children get pulled out of school. Families struggle to have two meals a day. And there’s no money for medicine or healthcare.

But that’s where you and Plan come in.

The project

With your ongoing support, we’ve been working with local organizations to create sustainable, community-led programs in rural Zimbabwe that meet the needs of local people living with HIV and AIDS.

We’re investing in local health clinics and health workers to make sure more families have access to testing, support and treatment, so that parents can stay healthy and keep working, and kids can stay in school and on their way to a better life.

Over the past year, we’ve worked with more than 60 clinics and 128 health workers, providing funding and training to help them deliver vital services to communities.

For families with malnourished children or parents, we’ve partnered with the World Food Programme on a Health and Nutrition program to get short-term, supplementary food rations to more than 12,000 malnourished people every month to help them avert a crisis.

We’re also assisting families and communities affected by HIV and AIDS with access to education, training, and microfinance so they can create jobs and businesses and raise their incomes through activities like farming and gardening, the gathering and sale of firewood, brick moulding, maize shelling and more.

None of this would be possible without sponsors like you – thank you.

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