AT least five in every 10 new HIV/Aids infections are among young women aged between 15 and 24, an official from World Education has said.
Speaking during a belated Mother’s Day Ladies’ Luncheon hosted by SOS Children`s Village at a Bulawayo hotel, World Education programmes coordinator Ms Banele Mandaza said young women have the highest incidence of HIV infection in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ms Mandaza said women must educate their children about sexual intercourse to curb the increase of HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe.
“Gone are the days where you will wait for aunties to teach young girls about HIV/Aids. I understand that it is uncomfortable to talk about sex with your biological children but l think this is the time for women to educate their children. Do not leave it for teachers because teachers are chasing after school pass rates,” she said.
Less than 15% of young people are aware of their HIV status despite constituting the larger group of people who are dying from HIV and Aids-related illnesses, NewsDay has learnt.
Experts have said this is a result of a toxic brew of stigma, lack of access to health care, risky behaviours and too few young people being tested for HIV.
Addressing the Senate Thematic Committee on HIV and Aids, Sibusisiwe Marunda, who is the country director for Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI), said the grave situation needed urgent address from all stakeholders.
“Young people have not been able to access HIV services because the environment is not permissive. There is still a lot of stigma from the community as well as health facilities,” she said.
Although there are a number of open clinics with youth corners, these have not been utilised because the staff manning them remain judgmental and this drives away the adolescents.
AT LEAST 14% of Zimbabwean adults are HIV positive, with women being the worst affected, a 2016 household-based national survey by the Zimbabwe Population Based HIV Impact Assessment (Zimphia), has revealed.
The survey, conducted between October 2015 and August 2016, however, noted a decrease in HIV prevalence countrywide.
“Fourteen percent of Zimbabwean adults are HIV positive. HIV prevalence is higher among women (17%) than men (11%). HIV prevalence has decreased since 2005-06 and 2010-11,” the report read.
The survey which is the first to be conducted in the country to measure national HIV incidence and viral load suppression (VLS), was also meant to measure the status of Zimbabwe’s national HIV response.
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