29 June 2013

Tanzania: 'Some Traditions Fuel Spread of HIV/Aids'

SOME traditions and cultural values in the society put men at higher risk of contracting HIV/ Aids, hence the need for immediate interventions to address the matter.

"It is common to hear the obsession in our culture that it is prestigious for boys or men to have many lovers," said the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, Ms Kijakazi Mtengwa.

The Tanzania HIV and Malaria Indicator Survey (THIMIS) 2012 statistics show that 21 per cent of men who are between 15-49 years have more than one lover, she said. However, the study has revealed that only 4 per cent of women have multiple relations. She said that the leading regions in this practice are Ruvuma and Geita, with prevalence rate in such multiple relations of 34 and 31 per cent respectively.

The report further revealed that young women between 23-24 years were close to three times (6.6%) more likely to be HIV positive, compared to men (2.8%) in the same age group.

In a week long survey to establish the driving forces of such promiscuous behaviour carried out by the 'Daily News on Saturday, it shows that some of the drivers to men having multiple relations are based on idleness and lack of employment.

Mr Kibonyo Tumbo of Manzese said that it was unfortunate that some youths have no jobs and join their peers in jobless corners where the discussions are motivating them to commit fornication. He also blamed some of the Video show shops that run some pornographic films to the youth who then go out of their way to test the waters," he said.

Juma Nassor of Kinondoni also said that if one looks at the mushrooming bar in the cities, towns and villages that could be an obvious indication that they are catalysts to men spending some hours in such places to drink. "After the drinking spree the next thing is for a man to ticker a woman and solicit for sex," he argued.

The Executive Chairperson of Tanzania Commission for Aids (TACAIDS), Dr Fatma Mrisho has said that it was clear from the report findings that there existed more people who were at risk. "We have continued to advise our development partners that there was still a need to have a multiple approach on intervention that includes treatment, education and prevention.

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