The United States government has pledged $150 million for HIV and Aids testing services in Zimbabwe. Addressing journalists after a tour of the one-stop New Start Centre in Harare, visiting Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department Mrs Carol O’Connell said the US valued its social programmes and their services to Zimbabwe. “The US, through the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID, PSI and other implementing partners are pledging $150 million that will be used over the next 12 months to reach an estimated 2,5 million in 2017,” she said. “Last year, we reached out to 1,9 million people with HIV testing services. We are looking forward to increase that amount. “I know there has been questions about the budget in the United States, but we highly value the PEPFAR programme and its services in the country and next year we are hoping to increase that amount to increase services for medical male circumcision, as well as getting young girls into the DREAMS programme to help in prevention.” Mrs O’Connell said the new US administration would maintain relations with African countries by providing assistance. This is despite earlier indications by the US that it was cutting on foreign expenditure. “There are lots of different issues with the budget, its ongoing, its changing, its a new administration,” she said. “We are able to provide input into the budget priorities. We are talking with the Congress.”

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