via Tertiary institutions top new HIV infections | The Herald June 23, 2014 by Munyaradzi Musiiwa
HIGHER and tertiary education institutions have the highest rate of new HIV infections, the National AIDS Council (NAC) has said. In an interview on the sidelines of a workshop to train HIV and Aids focal persons in tertiary institutions in Kwekwe last week, NAC youth co-ordinator Mrs Beauty Nyamwanza said most HIV infections started in tertiary institutions.
“It has been discovered that most new infections are starting in tertiary institutions. NAC has introduced the training of HIV and AIDS focal persons in tertiary institutions to provide technical guidance to young people particularly those in their freshman year. We want the tertiary institutions to provide a comprehensive programme to conscientise students on sexual reproduction. The aim is to ensure that students have adequate information when it comes to issues of HIV and AIDS,” said Mrs Nyamwanza.
She said NAC was advocating mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS in the tertiary institutions’ curriculums.
Speaking during the same training, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development HIV and AIDS national co-ordinator Mrs Evangelista Matipano said tertiary institutions were the peak of HIV infections.
Mrs Matipano also bemoaned rampant cases of abuse of students by lecturers and other authorities in tertiary institutions.
“Tertiary institutions are at the peak of HIV infections. Some of the major contributing factors are poverty, peer pressure and drug abuse.
Students’ sexual abuse has become a cause for concern. We know of the ‘thigh for a pass’ in tertiary institutions where by lecturers demand sex from students in exchange for high marks or other favours,” she said.
Mrs Matipano said there was growing resistance to use of public sector condoms by young people.
“We are facing serious resistance to use of public sector condoms by young people. They regard them as cheap quality and they are reluctant to use them resulting in them getting infected,” she said.
According to statistics released by NAC, there are 1 384 254 people living with HIV in the country.
Of these about 900 000 are on anti-retroviral treatment (ART).
The country also records 46 653 HIV and AIDS related deaths annually.