Dar es Salaam. Mother-to-child HIV transmission has abated by 20 per cent in the last five years, health data show.
Briefing reporters in Dar es Salaam, the executive director of the Tanzania Commission for Aids (Tacaids), Dr Leonard Maboko, said the decline was based on comparative records for 2010 to 2015.
He attributed the decline to an increase in public awareness due to efforts made by the Health ministry, Tacaids and key players including non-governmental organisations.
Dr Maboko said public awareness on HIV has increased compared to five years ago, whereby the number of people going for blood screening has significantly increased.
Giving data, he said in 2015, 86 per cent of pregnant women attended antenatal care for testing and taking ARVs. Dr Maboko further said that at least 90 per cent of pregnant women who have been infested with HIV were put on medicine designed to prevent the mother-to-child HIV transmission.
The drop of transmission in children aged 0-14 years was from 14,000 new infections in 2010 to 6,500 in 2015, equivalent to over 50 per cent drop.
He further explained that there has been a 14 per cent decrease in new HIV infections in East and Southern Africa between 2010 and 2015.
It is also estimated that in 2015, at least 37 million people were affected with HIV worldwide.
Meanwhile, in East and Southern Africa, 19 million people were tested positive out of whom 1.5 million people were diagnosed with HIV in Tanzania.
Dr Maboko also said that women have been more affected with HIV due to biological factors, female genital mutilation practices, being voiceless in sex-related negotiations and the influence of the of patriarchy system, among others.
Up to June 2016, 18 million people worldwide were on ARVs (48 per cent) while 10.3 million people taje ARVs (54 per cent) in East and Southern Africa and in Tanzania, there are 800, 000 (53 per cent) ARV users.
The top five regions most hit with HIV in Tanzania are Njombe (14.8 per cent), Iringa (9.1 per cent), Mbeya (9 per cent), Shinyanga (8 per cent) and Ruvuma (6 per cent).
Manyara Region has the lowest number of infections (1.5 per cent).
On the way forward, Dr Maboko said behavioural change campaign should be continued, including use of both female and male condoms.
Moreover, in efforts to fight the disease, on December 1, the Vice President launched the Aids Trust Fund which will mobilise resources so as to reduce relying on foreign donors alone.
Dr Maboko revealed that during the inauguration, Sh348 million was raised for the fund.