The First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa in collaboration with the National AIDS Council (NAC) and other supporting partners hosted a Men’s conference targeting men only in order to reduce new HIV infections and deal with the low health seeking behaviour in men.
Speaking at the conference held in the capital yesterday, the First Lady encouraged men to visit health institutions earlier and live a healthier lifestyle to maintain quality health care.
“l know its hard because as men we have this pride and we tell ourselves that we are strong but we have to get tested and get treatment earlier, our families needs us,”she said.
“Men you are the heads of the households. Lets unite and fight against child marriages, rape and domestic violence. It begins with us,” she added.
Director of Family Health in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Bernard Madzima highlighted that as men there are no specific programs targeting men maybe because of a general perception that men are strong.
“As a country we do not have readily available data on what affects men mostly, yet they are the most affected. Men come to the clinic when they can no longer walk by themselves and by then it will be too late and that could have been avoided if early treatment was sought or given,” said Dr Madzima.
Another official from NAC, Trust Govere said statistics have shown that men indulge in sexual activities more than women yet they are reluctant when it comes to HIV testing.
“When men get Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), they come to the health institutions when its too late. They waste time using concoctions that are sold around street corners. Some even start stealing their wives pills because they are ashamed of going to collect ARVs at their local health institutions,” Govere added.
HIV infections are mostly transmitted through sexual intercourse.
Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Obadiah Moyo said the Ministry is doing all they can to deliver quality health care to the people and that should also include men.
“We are worried about the low health seeking behaviour by men and this is creating a gap in eradicating new infections of HIV totally. Keeping the men alive is ultimately keeping families alive,” said Dr Moyo.
“Our HIV incidence has decreased from 0,88%-0,48% hence the achievements could have been better if men also participated more in health programs and seek health first,” added Dr Moyo.
1,2 million people are on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment with a higher number being women.