Shocking HIV statistics in tertiary institutions
Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
Government is concerned with the high rate of HIV infections and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) among youths, especially students at higher and tertiary institutions.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the HIV prevalence rate had decreased from 29 percent to about 13 percent.
“But it is still high and it must come down further,” he said.
“We discovered that there are four groups in this country where HIV rate is still high. Those on the lead of the group are young people, both girls and boys, especially those in colleges and universities. They still need help.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said students misbehave because of the freedom they enjoy away from home.
“So, your children that you are sending to school would always think that they don’t have anyone to control them while out there, resulting with them catching HIV and STIs,” he said.
“So, that is one group, young women, young men.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said the second group comprised prostitutes.
“The second group is sex workers countrywide,” he said.
“The HIV rate among sex workers is as high as 51 percent, so let’s be careful there. Number three, it’s in jails, the prison population.
“The rate is 28 percent, but we are looking on solutions to manage there.
“Number four is long distance truck drivers. They always travel and pick up different women. It’s an area we are also looking at. Then we also have high rates in border towns such as Beitbridge, Plumtree and Victoria Falls. So, we are going to look at those areas in a very strong manner.”
Dr Parirenyatwa was speaking during the handover of a highway patrol ambulance worth over $70 000 that was donated to the Ministry of Health and Child Care by CBZ Holdings at Ngundu Clinic on Monday.
The ambulance, a Toyota Land Cruiser, will be a patrol emergency rescue vehicle and will be used to attend to accident victims along the Harare-Beitbridge Highway.
It will be stationed at Ngundu Clinic.
Dr Parirenyatwa said Government believed that the only solution to HIV infections was prevention.
“It is true that at our ministry we say that the only bigger solution to prevent each and every disease is prevention,” he said.
“Even on HIV, that is what we say and in Geneva they always call me to share this.
“We have three strategies to prevent HIV.
“The first strategy is prevention, the second one is prevention and the third one is prevention. It’s prevention, prevention, prevention. Prevention is better than the actual cure.”
Dr Parirentyatwa said road traffic accidents were ranked number four worldwide for causing deaths.
He said drunken driving was also contributing to road traffic accidents and urged drivers to be responsible and abide by traffic regulations.