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AIDS activists arrested on World AIDS day
Women and AIDS Support Network (WASN)
December 05, 2005
A sad development
happened when we were commemorating the World AIDS day. Five of
our activists were arrested in an unfortunate circumstance where
there was communication breakdown amongst the police department.
An application for police clearance according to POSA was made to
hold a march. It was first turned down and a court application was
made which later was withdrawn on the understanding that the police
were going to give clearance, which they did in writing. However
to our surprise the police later denied having cleared the march
and five of our activists were arrested on allegations that the
march was illegal. It is an unfortunate situation that people were
arrested for marching in commemoration of the World AIDS Day (WAD)
on the 1st of December 2005.
World AIDS Day
was conceived and adopted unanimously by 140 countries meeting at
the World Summit of Ministers of Health on AIDS, London in January
1988. The day was envisaged as an opportunity for governments, national
AIDS programmes, non- governmental and local organizations, as well
as individuals everywhere, to demonstrate both the importance they
attached to the fight against AIDS and their solidarity in this
an official estimate of 2million people living with HIV, between
300 000 and 500 000 who are in urgent need of Antiretroviral drugs
(ARVs). People on treatment in both the private and public sector
are only 20 000. It is worrying to note that the shortage of ARVs
is being experienced by people already on treatment. There is evidence
on the ground that there are people who have started treatment and
have gone to some public health centres around the country and could
not get drugs and those who did get them got drugs for only one
or two weeks instead of a month’s supply. The inconsistent supply
of ARVs has caused panic especially to those that are living with
HIV and we are beginning to loose the confidence the community had
gained in the ARV rollout programme.
the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MOHCW) 2004 report, approximately
2 000 people are dying of AIDS every week. There are reports stating
that 1 child in every 15 minutes is dying of AIDS in Zimbabwe and
1,2 million children have been orphaned by HIV and AIDS. However,
the productive age group (15 –49 years) is the one most affected
by the epidemic. As stated in the MOHCW 2004 report AIDS is now
responsible for about nine out of every 10 deaths in the 15 to 49
year age group. As a result companies are loosing in terms of production
due to absenteeism, deaths, recruiting and training new personnel.
Moreover these are the people that are contributing towards the
3% AIDS Levy. This is seriously affecting the economic and social
development of the country. The Agricultural sector being the backbone
of the economy is the worst affected sector and this is a threat
to the country’s food security.
We want to salute
our activists who braved the detention and also took this as an
opportunity to educate the police force and the inmates on the urgency
of the issues of HIV and AIDS. As we continue to campaign for improved
access to HIV and AIDS related treatment we urge the AIDS service
organizations, funders, corporate world and government to come on
board. Let us remember that HIV and AIDS is a state of emergency
and as such it should be treated by all.
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