MASVINGO - Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) last week donated a viral load machine to Masvingo General Hospital as part of efforts to help the fight against HIV and Aids.
A viral load machine is used to measure the amount of HIV in a patient's body so as to determine the correct treatment procedure.
The shortage of the machines has been identified as a setback in effective treatment efforts and the donation brings relief to patients in the districts who will also be served by the new machine.
Under the new arrangement, ambulances will be used to carry the plasma of people living with HIV from different districts of the province to the general hospital for testing before being sent back the same way.
Representing MSF, Dr Abraham Mapfumo highlighted the critical role that viral load machines play in the fight against HIV and Aids.
"A viral load machine enables one to know the amount of virus in their blood stream. When your viral load is low, it means that you are strong to live with the HIV virus and you can live a normal life when taking your prescriptions correctly. The CD4 count has to be high. In people with HIV, CD4 is the most important laboratory indicator of how well your immune system is working and the strongest predictor of HIV progression," he said.
Dr Mapfumo stressed that people living with HIV and Aids should continue to protect themselves by using condoms and other protective methods regardless of whether they know their viral load or not.
"Some people may ignore to use condoms when their viral load is low thinking they are home and dry. You don't know the next person's status and that will truly put your health in jeopardy. Let us all continue to use protection," he added.news