Zambia determined to push for mandatory HIV testing

Zambian Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya has threatened to shut down all privately-owned health centres that refuse to implement a compulsory HIV testing policy.

President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday announced that testing, counselling and treatment were no longer voluntary in his bid to make the country free of Aids by 2030.

This means that anyone who goes to a private or state health centre for any treatment should automatically be tested for the virus.

Despite the move being condemned by some politicians and human rights campaigners, the government says it is determined to make it work.

Mr Chilufya wondered why people did not want to know their HIV status, according to a report in the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail newspaper:

“Why are people afraid of knowing their status? It’s better you know so that if you are positive, medication is given to preserve your life.”

He said that a further proclamation aimed at implementing the decision would be issued.

He disclosed that 81% of admissions at the University Teaching Hospital, the country’s biggest referral hospital, were HIV-related.

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