December 1 is World Aids Day. This is a day that is set aside to remember those that have died of the condition and also to show support to those infected and affected by the pandemic. It is a time of reflection.
There are many factors that make certain populations vulnerable to infection and this year’s national theme of ‘Closing the tap of new infections’ shows the determination to eliminate new infections so that we meet our target of ending the public health threat posed by Aids by 2030.
This will be done through ensuring that everyone is tested so that they know their status, and those that test positive are put on anti-retroviral treatment and those on such treatment also adhere to treatment and avoid re-infection.
Giant strides have been made in Zimbabwe in its fight against HIV and it is crucial that we keep scaling up interventions so that the effectiveness of the ARVs does not lull us into overlooking the threat that HIV continues to pose to our populations.
Our call to all but especially young people is to get tested and behave responsibly to avoid contracting and spreading the infection.
Zimbabwe is at a juncture in its development where there has been a re-energisation following leadership renewal and it is important for the young people to renew their hopes and ensure that they do not miss out on the new dawn.
We will need their energy, their ideas and they can only do that if they are fit and healthy. They can only do that by leading disciplined lives.
There is sometimes a link between drug abuse, sexually transmitted infections and violence in homes.
We see it over and over again especially in the festive season when young people act irresponsibly and take all sorts of drugs leading to poor decisions that result in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
When finger pointing arises over who infected who with the disease, it usually leads to violence, and it can be worse where intergenerational relations are concerned as the young man or woman would not be able to negotiate safer sex.
The talk over the past month has been focused on registering to vote in the next elections but we should not also neglect to encourage one another to get tested for HIV, among other diseases.
We are sure everyone wants to live longer and witness what Zimbabwe has in store for us. Let us behave responsibly and peacefully and increase our chances of being partakers of the fruit of a new Zimbabwe.
Be wise. Get tested today. Know your status, plan your future.