In his latest effort to reduce rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) /acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in Tanzania, health promotion, education, and behavior assistant professor Dr. Donaldson Conserve has published a paper on developing national strategies for reaching men with HIV testing services in Tanzania.
Published in BMC Health Services Research, the article reports on enablers and barriers to HIV testing uptake in men and describes strategies proposed in Tanzania’s Male Catch-Up Plan to address some of these barriers.
Despite stabilization and decline in HIV/AIDS infection rates over the past three decades, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 64 percent of new HIV infections. Tanzanians experience disparities in HIV prevalence in age, gender and rural-urban differences.
The HIV prevalence rate among women ages 25-29 is three times higher compared to men in the same age group. Further, 55 percent of men living with HIV self-reported that they were unaware of their HIV status – despite the scale up of HIV testing services and treatment in health care facilities and communities across the country and the availability of free antiretroviral treatment.
To continue the decline of HIV incidence overall and lower the prevalence of transmission to women by men who are unaware of their positive HIV status, the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Tanzania, the National Institute of Medical Research at Muhimbili University and other partners created the Male Catch-Up Plan. This plan focuses on increasing the number of men who test for HIV so that they know their status, can receive treatment, and stop the spread of infections – particularly to the female population, which is disproportionately affected by higher incidence rates.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 30