cd4 count machine.jpgPeople living with HIV and AIDS in the Harare Metropolitan Province say the hiking of CD4 count fees and other challenges they are encountering are a major setback to the government’s efforts of scaling up availability and access to a wide spectrum of HIV and AIDS services.

A number of people living with HIV in Harare, who rely on government institutions for various services, have also been irked by the withdrawal of certain services at the hospitals.

 

Some of the affected people, who talked to ZBC during the launch of the Harare Provincial Aids Campaign in Mufakose, lamented the new costs of cd4 count testing and the withdrawal of food aid for those who have gained weight above the 51 kilogramme mark, saying such developments will lead to their health deteriorating.

 

“This is a major blow to us,” one affected person said.

 

Acting Harare Metropolitan Province Governor, Mr Alfred Tome said despite the province having 10 institutions administering anti-retroviral treatment, a lot of affected people are still encountering challenges in accessing services.

 

Harare Provincial Aids Action Committee Chairperson, Mr Madenyika Magwenjere said while the committee is doing all it can to assist people affected with HIV and AIDS, the number of people living with the virus, which stands at 12.3% of the population in Harare, has continued to put tremendous pressure on the available resources.

 

Government through the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare recently adopted new guidelines that have been introduced by the world health organisation, which recommend early treatment for people living with HIV and AIDS.

 

In the past, treatment was initiated when an infected person’s cd4 count fell to 200 or below but the figure has now been revised to 300.