About 18 percent of people who tested for HIV in Bulawayo from January to June this year did not collect their results, statistics show. According to the National Aids Council (nac) second quarter report for Bulawayo province, 6 322 people were tested and 5 154 of them have been initiated on anti-retroviral medication. "From January to June this year, 67 618people tested for HIV in the whole province. Of those, 6 322 tested HIV positive, but 18 percent of those results were not accounted for. From those, 33 996 were retests despite our initial target of testing 69 425 people in total. In essence we fell short of the target by three percent," reads part of the report.
According to NAC, more women were tested than men during the period under review. "Positivity for age range 15-19 for females was higher than that of their male counterparts, however, tables turned as we got to the 20-24 age range. "The target groups reached were sex workers, prisoners and truck drivers who were part of the total people who got tested," adds the report.
"The province recorded a downward trend in the number of new STI clients reported in the second quarter between 2014 and 2016. However, 2017 statistics show a slight increase in new STI cases reported at public health institutions in the province."
NAC Bulawayo provincial monitoring and evaluation officer Mr Douglas Moyo recently said inconsistent use of condoms and low risk perception was the major cause of the high number of new STIs. "We recorded 1 396 new STI infections for women and 1 098 for men during the first quarter. However, there was a sharp increase in the number of new female cases from 993 in 2016 to 1 396 in 2017 which shows people are reckless and engaging in unprotected sex," he said.