Required: guidelines to implement 2008 HIV Act

There is now a definite quest. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has been asked to speed up the passing of standard guidelines for implementation of the 2008 HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act so as to help reduce stigmatization and new HIV infections in the country. 

Along with this call, People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) want more sensitization to be given to the community with regards to the pandemic so as to enable the country reach its targets of having zero new infections, as well as having reduced stigma and deaths related to HIV/AIDS come 2015.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam in mid March at a two-day seminar to the PLWHA, together with other stakeholders in the 2008 HIV/AIDS Act, facilitator of the training, Japhes Baitan, said the law can hardly be implemented because as up to now there are no standard guidelines that have been passed.

“For this law to be implementable, it has to be returned to the PLWHAs and the entire community, then a Minister responsible has to look at it and preside over the implementation guidelines formulation. The goal is to attain zero new HIV infections, related deaths and stigma,” said Baitani.

He said the law has some very good provisions that prohibit unfaithful people to declare that they can cure the virus, disclosure among married couples of their HIV status and so on, but it has ironically not targeted a person who is yet to be infected – especially on how best to protect oneself. This is what the training participants observed as one of grey areas in the law, he said.

On his part, Juma Garaba who is the Secretary to a CSO on the fight against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (Maukita) said the PLWHAs need to understand the law so as to know clearly theirs rights and obligations, and hence take ownership in the fight against stigma. Maukita are the ones who organized the training workshop through the funds from the Foundation for Civil Society,

In different occasions, training workshop participants and people who declared to be living with HIV, Maimuna Hamis (49) and Athumani Mwirangi (40) said stigmatization to PLWHAs is still a big problem in the country and have called for more education to be given to communities and even sensitize more people to go for voluntary counseling and testing.

Since 2008 when President Jakaya Kikwete signed the law, the Ministry of Health has been giving updates that it is in process to formulate the guidelines.

 

 

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