51 percent of new infections found in their research last year were from married couples and those who were in stable relationships.
“Marriage is no longer the be-all and end-all when it comes to AIDS.There is a place for AIDS in marriages.More than 66 000 new infections recorded from our research last year
were from married couples and others who are in steady relationships,” NAC communications officer Orirando Manuwere said.
Manuwere was speaking at a workshop on HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Multiple Concurrent Partnerships (MCPs) at the Kadoma Ranch Motel on Friday.However, Manuwere said AIDS prevalence in the country had declined from 15, 6 percent in 2007 to 14, 2 percent last year, while the number of children orphaned by the epidemic stood at 1 million.
Manuwere said 92 000 people died of the disease in 2007, but the number fell to 79 000 the following year. In 2009, 66 000 died of AIDS, and the decline is attributed to prevention as the major response to the epidemic,” said Manuwere.
Speaking at the same function, Population Services International (PSI) programmes manager Patience Kunaka attributed the new discovery to Multiple Concurrent Partnerships that gave rise to ‘small houses’ between married men and women.
‘Small house’ is a term coined for mistresses of married men and young men dating married women.
“Multiple concurrent partnerships are the number one suspect in the increase in prevalence in married couples. There is now cross generational sex and MCPs are the major drivers of AIDS in marriages.
“Low risk perceptions are one of the most dangerous evils,” Kunaka said.She said men are more involved in MCPs than women.According to the findings, Matabeleland South province had the highest prevalence rate which stood at 21, 2 percent, followed by Manicaland, with 20, 2 percent. Masvingo is on third position, at 19, 7 percent, followed by Matabeleland South at 17,4 percent.
Mashonaland West had a rate of 16, 7 while that of the Midlands stood at 16, 3 percent. The infection rate of Bulawayo was found to be 14, 1 percent while that of Mashonaland East is 13, 7 percent. Mashonaland Central had the lowest prevalence rate, at 12, 9 percent.