A total of 20,000 households are set to participate in an HIV/AIDS prevalence research project dubbed THIS 2022-2023 which will involve 40,000 people in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.

The resident Director of ICAP at Columbia University Haruka Maruyama made the remarks recently during training for journalists.

The training was aimed at empowering journalists to analyze and report about the study which will evaluate the results of a treatment and care programme for people with HIV/AIDS in the Country.

He said the programme will involve 40,000 people aged 15 who have agreed to take part in the study which will also analyze the number of new infections, prevalence and those on treatment.

She said the information was vital as it will help Tanzania to attain the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) targets of reducing new infections by 2030 as well as testing the prevalence of Hepatitis B and C.

The study is being commissioned by the Tanzania AIDS Commission (TACAIDS) and Zanzibar AIDS Commission (ZAC), the Ministry of Health from mainland and Zanzibar, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as well as that of the isles.

The study is funded by the United States Government under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and technical support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ICAP of Columbia University.

He added that the researchers who have received special training will visit the households and take samples in a high privacy way from participants.

“Voluntary counsel will be offered by researchers who will also be collecting samples as well conduct HIV testing to willing participants as well as refer those tested positive to hospitals of their choice for further counselling, ” he said.

He said the study will offer guidance to the Government and other stakeholders to implement the UNAIDS 95-95-95 testing and treatment targets achieved within all sub-populations and age groups and 95 per cent of women of reproductive age.

The study will be launched by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa where various dignitaries are set to attend.

HIV testing services (HTS) are the gateway for people, including general, key, and vulnerable populations (KVPs), to access HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support services. The key components of the HTS package are pre-test counselling, HIV testing post-test counselling, assessment of other HIV-related conditions, referral and linkage to follow-up and ongoing support services, which can be offered in a variety of settings both in health facilities and the community.

HIV testing and counselling (HTC) is a service that allows persons to learn their HIV status and make informed decisions about their health based on their HIV status.

HTC includes a confidential dialogue between the HTC provider and an individual, couple, or family.

In addition to client-initiative counselling and testing (CITC) and provider-initiated testing and counselling (PITC), which have been the two primary HTS approaches, the Ministry of Health Zanzibar has included in this revised guideline additional approaches recommended for providing entry into HIV prevention, care, and treatment, and support interventions. These include index testing/partner notification, social work testing, and HIV self-testing.

Furthermore, recency testing (a new approach for surveillance) has also been added. This analysis provides details of how the newer approaches should be operationalized. Furthermore, it also provides guidance on which cadres (commonly referred to as lay providers) in increasing HTS availability and accessibility, this provides specific recommendations on how the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar deployed psychosocial counsellors (currently involved in only offering HIV counselling services).

Note: Other traditions HTS approaches including; mandatory testing, HIV testing for blood and tissue donation, research, and surveillance are maintained as per the previous recommendation according to the Zanzibar National Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV and AIDS.

Provision of HTC in all settings should be voluntary and conducted ethically, following the 5 core HTC guiding principles, which include; Consent, Confidentiality, Counselling, Correct test results, and Connecting clients to prevention, care, treatment, and Support services.

HTC shall be conducted with clients’ and patients’ best interests in mind and shall respond to clients’ and patients’ needs and risks. All HTC service providers must adhere to the following five core principles of HTC.

HTC services are confidential, meaning that anything discussed between the client(s) or patient(s) and the HTC provider may not be shared with another person.

HTC services must include accurate and sufficient pre-test and post-testing counselling that addresses the needs and risks of the HTC client(s) or patient(s) and the setting in which they are receiving services.

HTC clients and patients must be provided with sufficient information about HIV testing and counselling so that they may give their explicit and voluntary informed consent to receive services.

HTC service providers must adhere to standards operating procedures (SOPs), quality assurance measures for testing to ensure the provision of correct test results to all clients and patients, and

It is the responsibility of HTC programmes and providers to ensure that HTC clients and patients are connected with appropriate follow-up services, which includes prevention, care and treatment, other clinical services, and non-clinical services within the community.


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