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HEALTH Aisor in the Office of The President and Cabinet Dr Timothy Stamps has launched the Mashonaland East chapter of the Zimbabwe HIVAIDS Activist Union Trust (ZHAAUCT) to help address the needs of people living with HIV in rural areas.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Timothy Stamps, who is also the patron of the trust, said it was important to have effective organisations that could fight for the welfare of people living with HIVAids in rural areas.

“Its important to expand the mandate of the trust to aocate for the availability of drugs, monitoring and care of the people living with HIV in our rural areas,” he said.

“We want to enhance behavioural change in rural areas and churches, hospitals and all the people need to join hands to raise awareness and fight stigma.”

Dr Stamps said the launch of the trust would help people living with HIV and Aids to collectively fight the stigma and discrimination they face whenever they sought medical help at clinics and hospitals in rural areas.

Speaking at the same occasion, ZHAAUCT president Mr Stanley Takaona said the launch of the trust in Mashonaland East province would help people in rural areas to press for the availability of ARV drugs and encourage more people to get tested.

“We do not want people to die because of lack of knowledge about HIV and Aids,” he said.

“We are here to stand for the rights of people living with HIV and we want encourage them that Aids is a condition which they can live with if managed properly.”

He also encouraged those affected to continue taking their ARVs so as to prolong their lives.

The association was formed in 1996 in Epworth with only 10 members and was rebranded last year to accommodate the community share trust scheme meant to get other people more involved in activities to do with HIV.

It primarily aims to improve the lives of people living with the virus.

Source : The Herald