AIDS Wears a Female Face

Zimbabwe currently has about 1,1 million people living with the HIV/Aids virus, with 105 000 being children while 60 percent of these are women.

“The epidemic wears a female face,” said an official from the National Aids Council (NAC).

She said in the 15 to 49-year-old age group there was a 21,1 percent prevalence rate while with men there was a 14,05 percent rate. “More men are dying from Aids,” she revealed.”This is mainly because men seek treatment too late in Zimbabwe.”

She said the incidence rate of 0,85 percent in 2009 would be reduced to about 0,43 by 2015 in Zimbabwe.

“We, however, want wherever possible, a zero percent infection rate in the country. By 2015 everyone should be clean,” the NAC boss told the interested journalists.

An official of the Population Services International (PSI), Patience Kunaka said the female condom was “extremely safe”.

“I am encouraging you to use it because it is very safe,” Kunaka strongly told about 25 journalists from cross Zimbabwe, attending a one day HIV/AIDS workshop.”People do not have the correct information about the female condom but I can tell all of you gathered here that it is safe. Please go out there and tell all your friends that it is very safe indeed.”

The workshop was organised by the Southern African Aids (SafAids) network based in Harare.

It covered topics such as HIV/Aids updates with gender in mind, the links between gender and HIV/Aids as well as if journalists knew that HIV wears a “female face”.

The workshop also focussed on the role of the female condom in the response to HIV/Aids.

“The workshop was meant to appraise journalists on current issues on HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe,” said Beatrice Tonhodzai of SafAids.”It was also meant to appraise the journalists on the gender issues around HIV, as well as appraise them on the role of the female condom alongside other prevention methods.”