The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Condom Use High

ZIMBABWE has recorded the highest condom usage in the world over the last five years, according to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey of 2011.

The development has contributed to the reduction of the HIV prevalence rate in the country. But the three Matabeleland provinces - Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South - remain at the top in HIV and Aids prevalence compared to other provinces.

This emerged during the HIV and Aids capacity building training workshop for journalists, which began in Kwekwe on Wednesday.

Presenting the overview of Zimbabwe's response to HIV and Aids, National Aids Council (NAC) monitoring and evaluation director Mr Amon Mpofu commended Zimbabweans for adopting condom usage.

"The usage of condoms is very high in Zimbabwe compared to other countries in the world. This is because in terms of distribution of condoms the country has adopted an intense distribution system through the National Family Planning Council which is working with different community care groups," said Mr Mpofu.

"We also have partners such as Population Services International (PSI), which has facilitated the selling of both female and male condoms in every shop, hotels and other places. This partly explains why the country has experienced a sharp decline in HIV and Aids prevalence rate."

Mr Mpofu said condom usage among other intervention strategies were paying dividends as evidenced by the reduction of the prevalence rate from around 21 percent in 2006 to 15 percent this year.

Although the HIV prevalence rate for Matabeleland region is the highest, Mr Mpofu said the trend remained stable due to improved access to quality treatment services. Harare has the highest number of people living with HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe followed by Manicaland.

At the moment, Zimbabwe has 1,3 million people living with HIV and Aids of which 510 000 are on anti-retroviral treatment.

Speaking during the same occasion NAC chief executive officer Dr Tapuwa Magure said Zimbabwe had made great strides towards fighting the disease.

The workshop was officially opened by Kwekwe Central MP Mr Blessing Chebundo.

A similar workshop for editors was held by NAC in Kadoma on Tuesday and Wednesday and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity Mr George Charamba, called on the media to play a pivotal role in the dissemination of information about HIV and Aids.

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