Zimbabwe News

S.e.x workers target truck drivers says NAC

THE National Aids Council (Nac) has said sex work fuelled by truck drivers and timber loggers, could be one of the HIV and Aids key drivers in Lupane, Matabeleland North.

Matabeleland North is a transit route for truck drivers, some of them transporting goods across the Sadc region.

They make several stops in various parts of Lupane and NAC contends that their presence attracts sex workers.

NAC Lupane acting District Aids Coordinator Mr Kelvin Tshuma said sex workers target truck drivers and timber loggers in the district.

“Our HIV key drivers is that we are a district that is located along the highway, the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway. So, we have a lot of sex work that go on along the highway. We have HIV hotspots, for example Kernmaur. Trucks tend to park there during the night and this is where sex work takes place. Other places are Cross Jotsholo and Gwayi. These are some of the hotspots that we have, truck drivers park and have sexual activities,” said Mr Tshuma.

He said sex workers also target timber loggers in the district since Lupane is rich in timber.

Mr Tshuma said spousal separation could be the other reason which can fuel HIV infections as couples live separately.He said the province is, however, recording a decline in HIV and Aids related cases.

“Our HIV prevalence rate stands at 10,8 percent according to the 2021 HIV estimates. The incident rate is at 0,2 so we are seeing positive changes. In the last 10 years, we were around over 20 percent but now we are at 10,8 percent which is really positive,” he said.

Mr Tshuma said a decline in HIV cases can be attributed to coordinated efforts that NAC and its partners are implementing.

He said the NAC markets Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PEP) to reduce the risk of new infections.

PrEP pill is given to individuals who are at risk of HIV and they take it up before indulging in sexual activities while PEP is given to someone who would have engaged in sex and risk contracting the virus.

“So what we are doing as the NAC and partners is to continue to socially market all the programmes and strategies for combination HIV prevention that entail correct and consistent condom use. We even provide PEP to those who would have been raped. We are making a clarion call that if ever there is sexual gender based violence, communities should report as early as possible to ensure that communities have access to post exposure prophylaxis,” he said.

Mr Tshuma called on pregnant women to deliver at health facilities as this reduces the risk of mother to child infections.

Source: bulawayo24

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