AGEING with HIV should be celebrated, the UNAIDS country director, Jane Kalweo, has said.
She was addressing an HIV Research Symposium organised by the National Aids Council (NAC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BTRTI), University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and Centre for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research (CeSHHAR).
The symposium’s aim was to share findings and provide constructive criticism and mentorship to improve research quality in Zimbabwe.
Kalweo stressed the need for HIV integration, mental health awareness, and support groups for older individuals, living with HIV.
Kalweo emphasised on UNAIDS’ target to end AIDS by 2025 and create an HIV-free population.
“Older people are more vulnerable to diseases such as cancer, hypertension and others.
“There is a need for integration of HIV, as older people are facing stigmatisation and are being excluded from HIV-related research because of age.
“We see that young peers have more support groups, but do old people have support groups? Food for thought.
“There is a need for mental health awareness for younger people and for people who are on drugs.
“There is a need for a report of people living with HIV to fulfil the motto ‘living no one and no place behind’.
“We are saying that aging with HIV should be celebrated as we have been disseminating information about HIV, and treatment has been provided.”
BRTI secretary, Dr Shungu Munyati, said:
“This is a platform to share ideas, interrogation on research findings and improve the quality of the research being conducted in Zimbabwe through constructive criticism and mentorship.
Dr Shungu Munyati
“Criticisms and mentorship promote research culture at national level.
“We benefit from the feedback of presentation, collaboration and research partnership and research projects, so let’s work together.”