ZIMBABWE in November 2019 joined other five African countries in conducting the ongoing six months long door to door HIV survey dubbed the: “Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA).”
The survey ending in March is being funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with technical assistance from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey will be led by Government working in conjunction with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), National AIDS Council (NAC) and ICAP at Columbia University.
To unpack as well as answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the ZIMPHIA door to door HIV survey, National Epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), Dr Brain Moyo made a detailed presentation at the launch of the ZIMPHIA Survey Harare chapter.
What is the PHIA project?
- Population based HIV impact assessment
- Multi-country effort to gather data to guide global response to HIV on access, care and treatment
- Results measure national and regional progress towards the UNAIDS 90-90-90
- PHIA conducted through MOHCC with technical assistance from ICAP, CDC and funding from PEPFAR
Why conduct a PHIA?
- Data from PHIA provides in depth understanding of HIV prevalence, incidence, care and treatment
- It guides policy makers on HIV policy, programs and funding leading to better health, stronger families and a more prosperous nation
What households will the survey reach?
- It is a nationally representative sample of households in Zimbabwe
- 12460 randomly selected households and approximately 22,886 eligible individuals aged 15 years and older will be targeted.
- Some selected households may have people living with HIV while other selected households may not
How will the survey be conducted
- Information about the survey will be given and consent sort for participants 18 years and older.
- Consent for participants aged 15-17 years old will be obtained from parents and or guardians.
- Assent will also be obtained for the 15-17 years old.
- Emancipated minors (15-17) will consent on their own
- Tablets will be used to conduct interviews about HIV services and personal behavior
- Blood samples will be taken for HIV testing and other tests like CD4 count and viral load will be done at laboratories and results returned to participant’s health facility of choice within 12 weeks.
Is there a cost to participate?
There is no cost for participation in this survey
Do I have to participate?
- Participation is voluntary
- Nothing wrong will happen to you if you choose not to participate
- Informed consent with be sort before you can participate
What are the benefits of my participation?
- Contributes to improving health systems, policies and programs addressing HIV
- You get an opportunity to receive free and voluntary HIV testing in the privacy of your home
- Knowing your status helps make future decision for yourself and your family
- Assists decision makers appreciate successes and challenges in getting to an HIV free generation.
Will my information be kept private?
- Survey staff are professionals trained to protect your privacy
- You may choose not to answer any questions
- If you test positive, survey staff with share your results with a health facility of you choice, with your consent for linkage to treatment and care.
When will I receive the HIV test results?
- The same day you tested
- If positive you will get a referral form to take to a health facility of your choice to learn more about your status and overall health
- You will also receive your CD4 count and viral load results at the health facility of your choice within 12 weeks after the test
What will the blood sample be used for?
- Blood sample will be taken to a central laboratory for further testing to understand the state of HIV epidemic in Zimbabwe
- Samples are held according to Ministry of Health and Child Care standards
What are the benefits of knowing ones’ HIV status?
- Getting tested is the pathway to treatment of prevention of HIV
- If positive, it allows you to immediately seek treatment to live a long and healthy life
- If you test negative, this result opens the door to access HIV prevention options
- Getting tested allows you to make empowered choices about your health
How can I tell if someone has HIV?
- You cannot tell by simply looking at someone whether they are living with HIV
- Most people living with HIV today do not appear sick
- Only an HIV test can correctly identify if someone has the virus or not
What treatments exist for HIV?
- For people living with HIV, there is Antiretroviral treatment (ART)
- For those who are negative and feel they are at risk of contracting HIV, they can take PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post exposure prophylaxis)
- Other preventive measures can be taken to stay HIV free like condom use, male circumcision for males and behaviour change.