Zambia has a true HIV epidemic on its hands: its 16,590,000 population has 1,200,000 people living with HIV. (PLHIV), 85,000 of them children. 2016 saw 59,000 new infections, among them 8900 children. 380,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS.
The most affected groups are sex workers (56.4%) and prisoners (27.4%). Unprotected heterosexual sex drives the epidemic, with 90% of new infections recorded as a result of not using a condom; followed by people who inject drugs (PWID) and mother-to-child transmission.
Same-sex intercourse is illegal, making it difficult to gather information about men who have g sex with men (MSM), much less target them for education, testing and treatment.
Young women are infected at a higher rate than same-age men; they’re generally less educated.
Zambia has increased access to Antiretroviral therapy (ART), especially for pregnant women, but has not succeeded in significantly lowering the general rate of infections.
(Figures from UNAIDS & AVERT, 2016)
Doctors and Nurses
Although statistics are slowly moving in the right direction, United Nations figures for the HIV and AIDS epidemic in 2015 are still alarmingly high. The population of Zambia is 14 million. One and a half million of them are infected with HIV. And every year more than 20.000 people die of AIDS. The extent of this epidemic requires much from the doctors and nurses who are trying to turn the tide.
Are they optimistic or sombre? What opportunities do they see and what makes their work difficult? What does their working day entail? In Lusaka Atlas2018 met a number of truly special doctors and nurses, all gifted with a big heart. Watch the films and get to know them. It will inspire us all.
Dr. Lloyd B Mulenga
“I was born in Zambia and i’ve seen the need…. My plan is to stay here.”
Dr. Maria Melany
“We do have happy days. But if your patient of client is not adherent to the medication then the war is lost.”
We followed dr Esmat for a full day with our camera.