The Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has continued to support the Zambian government’s efforts to provide high-quality, complementary, and integrated healthcare services within the public health system.
CIDRZ partnered with the U.S. Embassy in Zambia, and Umodzi Arts Organisation to offer various healthcare services at the University of Zambia as a build up to a dance performance by Step Afrika at the higher learning institution.
These services included, information dissemination on the U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) campaign, an initiative aimed at raising awareness and increasing understanding of the importance of being HIV virally suppressed; reaching people living with HIV (PLHIV) with the message that if they are virally suppressed their chances of transmitting HIV sexually are low, almost zero; promoting the message that staying on treatment and getting to HIV viral suppression allows PLHIV to protect themselves, their families and their communities; raising awareness among health care providers on the importance of encouraging their clients to start treatment and remain on treatment, and break the chain of transmission as well as increasing demand for viral load testing at facilities.
Other services offered were HIV counseling, testing and treatment; voluntary male circumcision; sexually transmitted infections screening; blood pressure checks, and information on cervical cancer.
Step Afrika, an African American dance troupe ranked among the top dance companies in the United States is in the country as part of the U.S Department of State’s Arts Envoy programme with their tour aimed at contributing to Zambia’s strides towards epidemic control of HIV/AIDS by 2020.
In dance, the concept of “stepping” highlights pride and unity, and the focus of the performances is to encourage young people to take a unified step towards an AIDS-free Zambia.