Chiredzi tops in STIs cases

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Wal­ter Mswazie in Masvingo

AT least 800 women, mostly young girls, are treated for Sex­u­ally Trans­mit­ted In­fec­tions in Chiredzi ev­ery three months as the dis­trict con­tin­ues to be among the hotspots for HIV.

e sit­u­a­tion, of­fi­cials said, is scut­tling ef­forts by the Govern­ment to achieve zero in­fec­tion and zero HIV-re­lated deaths by 2030.

Masvingo Na­tional Aids Coun­cil pro­vin­cial man­ager, Mr Edgar Muzulu said while there were in­ci­dents of STI in­fec­tions across the prov­ince, the sit­u­a­tion in Chiredzi was worrisome and called for ro­bust in­ter­ven­tions.

He, how­ever, said Chivi was top­ping in HIV preva­lence with a 14,6 per­cent, Masvingo ur­ban and ru­ral stands at 14 per­cent, Gutu 13,7 per­cent, Mwenezi 13 per­cent while Chiredzi had 11 per­cent.

“Ac­cord­ing to col­lected data be­tween April and June this year, Chiredzi Dis­trict recorded 822 STI cases, which is the high­est, com­pared to other seven dis­tricts.

“Af­ter Chiredzi, we have Chivi which has 809 cases of STIs with most cases com­ing from Ngundu Growth Point, a hot spot for in­fec­tions and is along Masvingo-Beit­bridge high­way.

“Mhan­dam­abwe Growth Point along Masvingo-Zvisha­vane Road is also an­other spot where a lot of trans­ac­tional sex is tak­ing place in­volv­ing young girls as young as 14 years old.

“In the same pe­riod un­der re­view, Gutu had 714 cases, Zaka 632, Masvingo ur­ban ac­counted for 515.

“We are wor­ried that young peo­ple, es­pe­cially girls are get­ting in­fected with STI.

“Re­ports from our part­ners, that is Pop­u­la­tion Ser­vice Zimbabwe (PSI), New Start Cen­tre and CeSHAAR also in­di­cate that de­mand for the morn­ing af­ter pill is in­creas­ing.

“This is more wor­ry­ing be­cause it means there is too much un­pro­tected sex go­ing on among young girls.

“In Masvingo we get an up­surge of STIs when ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions are opened and the fig­ures co­in­ci­den­tally de­crease dur­ing se­mes­ter hol­i­days.

“As Nac we are there­fore work­ing to­gether with our part­ners to strengthen the HIV pre­ven­tion drive. We are fo­cus­ing on the five pil­lars of HIV pre­ven­tion, that is, key pop­u­la­tions who in­clude sex work­ers and truck driv­ers,” he said.

He said the HIV pre­ven­tion pil­lars are Vol­un­tary Med­i­cal Male Cir­cum­ci­sion (VMMC), con­dom pro­gram­ming, Sex­ual and Re­pro­duc­tive Health pro­grammes and Pre­ex­po­sure Pro­phy­laxis.

He said there was an in­creas­ing num­ber of teenagers termed, Young Girls Sell­ing Sex, es­pe­cially in Masvingo town, Chiredzi, Nyika Growth Point, Jer­era in Zaka, Ngundu and Chivi Turn-Off.

Mr Muzulu said the young girls are fall­ing prey to older men who are pre­pared to pay higher fees in ex­change for un­pro­tected sex, thereby ex­pos­ing them to STIs and HIV in­fec­tion.

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