The President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu has announced that testing for HIV is now compulsory in the country.
According to Mr. Lungu testing, counselling and treatment for HIV which used to be voluntary is now a must for every citizen as the country struggles to address the high prevalence rate in Zambia.
Zambia’s National HIV Council revealed that the country has one of the highest prevalence rates in southern Africa with 11.6% of Zambian adults aged 15 to 49 years being HIV positive.
Mr. Lungu is hoping this new directive will enable his country to be Aids free by the year 2030.
“I must admit that there were some colleagues who felt that this policy would infringe on human rights but the no one has the right take away somebody’s life” President Lungu said when he launched the inaugural national HIV and Aids Counselling, Testing and Treatment day in the capital, Lusaka.
Lungu further said that “Just the same way we don’t consult you for consent when we are testing for malaria, we will go ahead and test you for HIV and we will counsel you and if you are positive, we will commence you on treatment,”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAIDS do not back compulsory counselling and testing.
The Zambia government said the country cannot eliminate the disease if people have to fall sick before going for treatment to save their lives.