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Zambia : Aids to be eradicated by 2030

In Zambia, the negotiations that began on 9 February 2024 to launch the HIV/AIDS vaccination programme culminated on 1 March 2024 in the administration of the first volunteers of injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a drug for HIV-negative people. The government’s objective is to eradicate the AIDS threat by 2030.

On 1 March 2024, the Zambian government launched the second preventive vaccination campaign against HIV/AIDS in Africa, after South Africa in 2017. In its fight against this sexually transmitted disease, Zambia plans to enrol 2,000 people in the injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programme, also known as CAB-LA, by 2025 and to extend it to the whole country thereafter. The aim of this initiative is to eradicate AIDS as a threat to public health by 2030 through the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

“LA stands for long lasting action. It’s a long acting drug. The first two doses are scheduled four weeks apart and thereafter the individual will come in and receive it every 8 weeks because the drug will be in the system for 60 days.” 

Mundia Mwitumwa, HIV prevention lead, University teaching hospital Zambia

When administered every two months, injectable PrEP can almost eliminate the risk of contracting HIV. The drug blocks the HIV replication process, so that if a person is exposed, the virus is unable to take hold. Oral PrEP, a daily HIV prevention pill, has been available in Zambia since 2018, and the newly launched injectable PrEP will be integrated into service provision, offering existing and new clients another HIV prevention option.

“Remember this injectable drug, the Ca-BLA is only given to HIV negative people to prevent them acquiring HIV but it doesn’t protect against other STIs. So even if someone has taken this and  did not use condoms after, they can have syphilis, they can have gonorrhoea, hepatitis, all these sexually transmissible infections. ”

Llyold Mulenga, Director of infectious diseasesZambia

By 30 September 2023, of approximately 1.5 million people living with HIV in Zambia, 1,282,826 had started antiretroviral therapy (ART), compared to 1,219,127 in 2022. According to the results of the population-based Zambia HIV Impact Assessment, Zambia has surpassed the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) second and third targets of « 95-95-95 » with 89% of people living with hiv knowing their status, 98% on life-saving antiretrovirals and 96% having a suppressed viral load.Despite the progress made, the burden of HIV remains high and disproportionately affects women. In 2019, there were an estimated 26,000 new HIV infections among women aged 15 and over, compared with 19,000 among men.


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