Govt Concerned Over Low Uptake Of HIV Testing Among Youths

Government has expressed concern over the low uptake of HIV testing and counselling services by young people and students despite being the most affected constituency.

Addressing the 9th National Students conference organised by the Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) in Harare on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro said government was concerned over the increase in incidences of sexual transmitted infections.

“We are deeply concerned as a ministry at the increase of incidences of Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV. STIs we don’t mean HIV only, we also mean gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, once you develop that, it does not go away for life,” he said.

Dr Mangwiro challenged students and young people to get tested to establish their HIV status saying it is worrisome that only a quarter of those aged between 18-24 have only tested with the rest shying away.

In their submissions to the minister, students bemoaned the lack of sexual harassment legal framework at some of their universities which they argue protects the perpetrators.

They also bemoaned the ill equipped medical facilities at higher learning institutions which they said are of little help whenever they need attention.

In his response Mangwiro urged colleges without medical facilities to reach out to government for possible assistance saying anomalies regarding the shortage of clinics or lack of drugs and medicines should be addressed.

“It’s important if there are colleges with no clinics to come forward to the ministry so that if there are bottlenecks we deal with them. The anomaly must be corrected swiftly. All colleges are the same,” he said.