A community health counsellor Kennedy Mwanza has complained that the fight against HIV/AIDS is being undermined by people who are living with the virus but refuse to take Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) in Sinda District.
Speaking during a meeting organised by the district council at Kapandula Basic School, Mwanza disclosed that many people who tested HIV positive at Nyanje Mission Hospital, among other health facilities, refused to start treatment.
He expressed deep concern that despite refusing to take the life-saving drugs, a research showed that they remained sexually active, with recurring cases of sexually transmitted related cases.
“I am a counsellor and I test people nearly every day, but one thing that hurts and disturbs my mind is that among the people who test positive and their viral load is low, they refuse to be put on ART, yet they are sexually active; a symbol and indication that where they go, they infect others. Like this, you find the effort of government to reduce the rate even these we are talking of 5,000 untraced are among the people who refuse. Government is trying, but someone doesn’t want to be helped or to be saved,” Mwanza complained.
And district AIDS coordination advisor Elliot Njobvu said God’s desire was for people to remain faithful to each.
“If I was a pastor, I wouldn’t have promoted condom use because it’s against the will of God, but we are made to distribute because people are stubborn; they first don’t respect the word of God; they don’t respect their families and they are not faithful to each other. So, in trying to save someone, we advise them to use condoms,” Njobvu narrated.
He told the community and traditional leaders that the district had about 11,000 people living with HIV, but that only around 6,000 were on drugs, while the remaining 5,000 were not, posing a danger to people not living with the virus.
“Let’s bear in mind that we have 5,000 people with the virus, who are living in our communities and are not on drugs, to which everyone of us is at risk. That is why we have to remain faithful to each other if we are married or abstain if we are single, but if you fail to be faithful then use a condom,” he explained.