By John Nhandara

Fifteen countries from the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region will next week attend an experts meeting on ways to validate HIV prevention targets, which will be hosted by Zimbabwe.

The meeting is part of a series of events aimed at promoting and driving the regional agenda on revitalising HIV combination prevention in the Eastern and Southern African region.

Speaking in Harare on the sidelines of a consultative stakeholders` preparatory meeting for the conference, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa said Zimbabwe as a country has made huge strides in meeting HIV prevention targets as evidenced by the marginal decrease in the HIV prevalence rate.

“The experts meeting to be held in Victoria Falls and will among other issues seek to validate national HIV prevention targets as part of the implementation of the 2016 political declaration by countries in order to fast track HIV prevention response along with treatment,” Dr Parirenyatwa also said.

The Eastern and Southern African region continues to be the hardest hit by the HIV epidemic, accounting for 46 percent of the world’s new HIV infection and 42 percent of global AIDS related deaths in 2015.