Men should get real and take equal responsibility by undergoing HIV infection tests alongside their pregnant wives, a move they have been shunning for reasons best known to themselves, Dzivaresekwa MP Evelyn Masaiti has said.
Masaiti told MPs recently it was pointless to get pregnant females tested for the HIV virus while their husbands were not because this militated against the essence of combating the spread of the deadly disease.
“Mr Speaker, I would want to suggest that as a country, we should make sure that we take shared responsibility, both men and women,” said Masaiti. “I would want to suggest an allocation in the budget which makes sure that both men and women go for testing, especially at a time when the woman is pregnant.”
Masaiti said the policy of compulsory HIV testing for pregnant women at hospitals made some expectant mothers refrain from going to hospitals early to seek maternal care.
“It is a good policy to make sure that we protect the unborn and to get both men and women tested is the only way we can prevent mother-to-child transmission and infant mortality,” said Masaiti.
She said other reasons why women were not enthusiastic about HIV tests were the difficulties associated with conveying the message to their partners, especially if they tested positive.
Masaiti said if possible, Finance minister Tendai Biti should allocate money towards making sure there was a reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates.
“The Minister of Finance actually said the biggest factor causing maternal mortality was HIV and Aids. My plea is that can the Ministry of Health be allowed to transfer money so that a certain amount of money is set aside for HIV and Aids testing?” Masaiti said.
She said money was always allocated towards procurement of HIV and Aids drugs, but nothing was allocated for testing.
“As a nation, we should realise the role played by women, of making sure that there is continuity of generations. Government is not doing anything to make sure that we have continuity of generations,” she said.